The curved handstands done by the resting adult Spotted Apatelodes draws almost as much attention as its bright caterpillar.
A black spot on each inner forewing of adult Spotted Apaletodes inspired the common name for this moth. This spot may combine with a black patch on the abdomen to form a band of inky color on the taupe wings. Faint wavy or scalloped lines are visible on the lower half of each forewing. The unusual posture this family employs attracts attention. The abdomen curves sharply upward and with spread wings, it looks like the moth is doing a handstand. The black hairs at the tip of the abdomen become more visible in this position. The legs have thick tufts of hair around them.
The highly visible larvae are marveled at as well. Caterpillars are completely covered in wisps of hairs. Younger ones are white, but the older ones are neon yellow. The color is so bright, the caterpillar is hard to miss on green foliage or a brown tree trunk. A clump of long black lashes project from behind the head on the second and third segments and another extends by the rear. Black 'V'-shaped chevrons form a row down the sides of the body. This species eats the leaves of ash, oak, and maple trees. Two broods can be produced each year.
Look for the quirky adults and fuzzy larvae in or near deciduous forests, woodlands, and even more developed areas where their host trees are growing.
Scientific Name: Apatelodes torrefacta
Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 32mm to 46mm (1.25in to 1.79in)
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.