The Southern Emerald Moth brightens dark nights in the warm, humid South while its caterpillar has a reputation for 'inching' its way across foliage in the daytime.
This moth is a type of Geometer Moth, one of the most populated moth families in North America. This particular species is quite common in the southern United States. Adults are a striking, vivid green color with a feathery fringe on the hindwings. A white stripe down the back may be visible if its wings are open. Curvy white lines cross the forewings from left to right, almost like tree rings. Their feathery antennae are also white. Adults prefer woodland forests and are attracted to lights at night, like most moths.
The larval form is popularly called an 'inchworm' because of the way it crawls. These caterpillars are a part of the Measuringworm Moth family. They only have front and back legs that help them walk, so in order to move their long bodies forward, they have to pull both sets of legs close together and then push them apart. This type of caterpillar is popular thanks in part to the iconic children's book 'The Hungry Caterpillar'. If the caterpillar feels threatened, it stiffens itself and stretches its body outward at an angle while clinging to a stem. This posture makes it look like a short, stubby twig on a branch. Caterpillars feed on short, woody plants and blackberry plants.
Scientific Name: Synchlora frondaria
Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 20mm to 30mm (0.78in to 1.17in)
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.