The Small Phigalia is a silvery moth with an uncommon characteristic in the female that often helps her escape notice.
The female Small Phigalia Moth is unable to fly. Her wings are near her head and they are so incredibly small, at first glance, it looks as if she has none. Her segmented abdomen is gray with black markings on it, and she looks more like True Bug than a moth. Males have a classic moth appearance and can fly to the female for reproduction. The male is also gray with black markings. Fragmented black lines cross his wings. Deep scallops in the line resemble a row of teeth, but the Small Phigalia has a gap near its wings' outer edges. Just before the line ends, some 'teeth' are either missing, or are barely visible.
Look for females walking on elm, oak, willow, sweet gum, and other deciduous trees. Caterpillars are small. They change color as they mature: gray head and bodies with mottled coloring, orange heads with dark brown mottled bodies, or orange heads with black and orange bodies. It moves like an inchworm, raising its mid-section as it propels its head forward. Look for the adult male, the easiest of the species to spot, in woodlands and parks where host trees grow.
Scientific Name: Phigalia strigataria
Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 30mm to 38mm (1.17in to 1.48in)
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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.