The medium-sized Scarlet-winged Lichen Moth adult has bright colors, while its dull caterpillar blends in nicely on the lichens that speckle tree trunks everywhere.
Camouflage works well for the caterpillar of the Scarlet-winged Lichen Moth. Its brown speckled coloring matches exactly with the lichen that it feeds on. Lichens are a fungus-algae hybrid, though some are fungus-bacterial hybrids. The fungus brings water to the team, while the algae/bacteria brings photosynthetic food.These delicate flakes grow on the trunks of tree, forming a crust of sorts on the bark. They are also commonly seen on old stones walls and boulders. The caterpillar eats away at the lichen until it is ready to pupate.
The red and black adults emerge in spring or summer. They can be found in or near woodlands and pine forests. They are mostly nocturnal, and are attracted to lights. They are similar in appearance to their cousin, the Painted Lichen Moth. The Painted Lichen Moth has a more orange hue and a bit of black on the thorax ('shoulder plate') where the Scarlet-winged Lichen Moth is red.
Scientific Name: Hypoprepia miniata
Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 15mm to 21mm (0.59in to 0.82in)
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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.