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Salt Marsh Moth (Estigmene acrea)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Salt Marsh Moth.

 Updated: 4/22/2019; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.InsectIdentification.org




The Salt Marsh Moth is not confined to wet, briny habitats and can be seen in almost every state and province in North America.



The white Salt Marsh Moth has small black dots on its wings. The fluffy thorax is covered in white hairs. Males have bright orange hindwings that peek out when the wings are open flat. Females have white hindwings with black spots on them. Both sexes have bright orange abdomens along the 'spine' with a column of black dots. The sides of the abdomens are white with rows of black dots. If threatened, this moth can emit an acrid smell from the prothorax area that deters predators from eating it. Additionally, males broadcast pheromones using yellow-orange coremata. Coremata are long appendages that look like tentacles covered in thin hairs. They are also called 'hair pencils'. These specialized appendages are inflatable and are displayed in courtship for a female. They release pheromone and help attract a female to the male for reproduction.

Small, round, white eggs are laid in groups on the backside of leaves. The caterpillar is spiky with a black face that has yellow marks in the middle of it. It becomes darker as it ages, but if often seen when it is pale yellow or orange. It feeds on leaves of apple trees and other deciduous trees as well as crops like corn, potato, and cabbage. Two broods can be produced each year.
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Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Erebidae
          Genus: Estigmene
            Species: acrea
Identifying Information
Scientific Name: Estigmene acrea
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 20mm to 29mm (0.78in to 1.13in)
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: white, black, orange
Descriptors: black specks, flying, fur, frog legs, tentacles, octopus
Territorial Map
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
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Territorial Reach (A-to-Z)
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
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Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
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Mexico
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
Graphic showing basic anatomy of a common North American butterfly and moth insect
1
Antennae: Butterflies and Moths have a pair of antennae on the head used as sensors.
2
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and proboscis.
3
Thorax: Home to the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
4
Abdomen: Contains vital internal organs such as the heart(s) and reproduction facilities.
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Forewing: The upper, forward wing pair used for flying.
6
Hindwing: The lower, rearward wing pair used for flying.
NOTE: Butterflies and Moths are part of the Lepidopteran order as they share many similarities.