The pale-colored Signate Melanolophia caterpillar is not a picky eater, allowing this common moth to thrive in all part of its range.
The medium-sized Signate Melanolophia Moth may be gray, or a creamy pale brown, but its arrangement of small black dots is consistently helpful in identifying it. A similar-looking relative, the Canadian Melanolophia, has a bit more mottling and more severe curves in the lines across its wings. The two different species are indistinguishable at times. The Signate Melanolophia has two thin brown, only slightly curved lines crossing the forewings. Between these lines, on the outer edge of the wing, sits a single black dot. Just under the lower brown line, on the inner edge by the body are a pair of black smudgy dots. Far beneath the brown line are two more sets of black dots near the wing tips. Hindwings also have brown lines crossing them, but the lower one is too low to form a continuous line across the moth.
The Signate Melanolopia caterpillar feeds on the leaves of a wide variety of common trees. Both deciduous and coniferous trees like alder, birch, maple, oak, elm, tamarack and spruce are host trees. The benefit of such a varied diet means this moth is able to live in many parts of the eastern continent. It also prevents one tree from being taxed too much by larvae, so the moth is not a pest. Skinny, green caterpillars blend in easily among fresh foliage and can stiffen their bodies to resemble a twig.
Scientific Name: Melanolophia signataria
Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 30mm to 35mm (1.17in to 1.37in)
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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.