The mix of black and white markings on the Salt-and-Pepper Looper create a pattern unlike any other.
Salt-and-Pepper Loopers have black and white tufts of hair that poke out from the thorax area and even between the wings. Some individuals have collars of brown hair near the head, but overall, this moth is black, white, and shades of silver and gray. An intricate black patch in the center of the wings is framed in bright white marks that resemble dripping paint. An overlay of silver is common in eastern and northern populations. The hindwings are a pale brown color that have a darker border.
Loopers have caterpillars that form loops, or rings, with their tubular bodies as they crawl. The feet come up right behind the head, bending the body upward into a circle shape. This green caterpillar feeds on conifer trees such as fir, hemlock, spruce, and pine. They are a minor pest because of their feeding, but they rarely eat enough on a tree to harm it.
Look for Salt-and-Pepper Loopers all summer long in mountainous, or elevated, areas where evergreens are growing. They are nocturnal and will come to lights at night, but they are also active in the daytime, allowing for plenty of viewing opportunities.
Scientific Name: Syngrapha rectangula
Other Name(s): Angulated Cutworm
Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 14mm to 17mm (0.55in to 0.66in)
Colors: black, white, gray, brown
Descriptors: silver, white dot, black center mark, flying, checkered fringe, brown hair
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.