There is difficulty in identifying adult moths in this genus. They all have a lovely white flourish on the outer edges of the forewings. This particular species is found on the eastern side of the continent, which helps reduce the number of possible Symmerista moths it could be. The White-headed Prominent and Orange-humped Mapleworm are similar in appearance and in range, so dissection is necessary to truly tell them apart. The gray-brown moth has a deeper brown area by the wing edges where white sides jut into the middle of the wing, ending in a sharp point. The hairy thorax has shades of orange and golden brown on it.
The caterpillar for this moth is called the Red-humped Oakworm. It feeds on the leaves of oak trees as well as beech and chestnut. It is identical to the White-headed Prominent Moth's caterpillar and they share territory in warmer states. The round head is bright orange-red with a bumpy orange or yellow-orange band near the rear end. The body has black, white, and yellow lines running down the length of it, with the yellow lines being twice as thick as the others. Hints of red may fill in the yellow lines. Larvae are often found together on a leaves. Two broods are possible each year, especially in the southern part of its range.
Scientific Name: Symmerista canicosta
Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 18mm to 22mm (0.70in to 0.86in)
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.
Butterfly and Moth Anatomy
Antennae: Butterflies and Moths have a pair of antennae on the head used as sensors.
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and proboscis.
Thorax: Home to the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
Abdomen: Contains vital internal organs such as the heart(s) and reproduction facilities.
Forewing: The upper, forward wing pair used for flying.
Hindwing: The lower, rearward wing pair used for flying.
NOTE: Butterflies and Moths are part of the Lepidopteran order as they share many similarities.