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  • Painted Lichen Moth - (Hypoprepia fucosa)

    Painted Lichen Moth - (Hypoprepia fucosa)

    The Painted Lichen Moth warns predators with its alarming colors while its larval form feeds on the slow-growing lichens across the continent.

    Picture of Painted Lichen Moth
    Staff Writer (6/16/2016): Painted Lichen Moths are orange and black, a classic warning color combination for would-be predators. They somewhat resemble Lightening Bugs, which are also toxic to eat. Painted Lichen Moths have the unusual ability to 'hear'. They have hearing organs on their thorax and can make high-frequency sounds themselves. This may be useful in both communicating for mating purposes as well as warding off flying predators, like bats. Females also emit pheromones to attract males.

    Caterpillars are not similarly colored. They are brownish-black with yellow speckling. They are also covered in spines. To further protect themselves, they flick their fecal material far from themselves in order to obscure their location. Caterpillars feed on lichens found on tree trunks, stones and even buildings. Lichens are a symbiotic organism: part fungus, part algae or bacteria. The two organisms work together and enhance their ability to survive and thrive. The fungus offers structure and water collection abilities; the algae or bacteria photosynthesize sunlight to create food. Lichens are typically slow-growing, spreading over a surface at a rate of about 1 cm a year. The Painted Lichen caterpillar has also been seen eating its smaller siblings and pupae.

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    Details of the:
    Painted Lichen Moth

    Category: Butterfly or Moth
    Common name: Painted Lichen Moth
    Scientific Name: Hypoprepia fucosa

      Kingdom: Animalia
       Phylum: Arthropoda
        Class: Insecta
         Order: Lepidoptera
          Family: Arctiidae
           Genus: Hypoprepia
            Species: fucosa

    Size (Adult, Length): 25mm to 35mm (0.98in to 1.38in)

    Identifying Colors: orange, black, red

    Additional Descriptors: line, stripe, vein, flying, lightening, cannibal

    North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Alabama; Alaska; Arizona; Arkansas; California; Colorado; Connecticut; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Hawaii; Idaho; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Mississippi; Missouri; Montana; Nebraska; Nevada; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New Mexico; New York; North Carolina; North Dakota; Ohio; Oklahoma; Oregon; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Vermont; Virginia; Washington; West Virginia; Wisconsin; Wyoming; Alberta; British Columbia; Manitoba; New Brunswick; Newfoundland and Labrador; Nova Scotia; Ontario; Prince Edward Island; Quebec; Saskatchewan; Mexico

    * Keep in mind that an insect's reach is not limited by lines on a map and therefore may appear in areas/regions/states beyond those listed above.

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