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White Furcula (Furcula borealis)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the White Furcula.

 Updated: 8/31/2018; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.InsectIdentification.org




The unusual forked tail on the White Furcula caterpillar may be the first thing one notices, but it is not the last unusual feature on this larva.



Furculas are a type of nocturnal moth with a lovely mop of hair by the head and 'shoulders'. The furry crest has ribbons of metallic blue and dark yellow color in it. The White Furcula is not completely white, but those parts that are have a clean, snowy brightness. A dark gray, almost salt-and-pepper colored band crosses the middle of the wings, with smaller corners of dark color by the tips. A border of the same metallic blue and yellow separate the dark from the light regions. The white areas have a line of black dots that follow their curvy boundaries, and a row of these black dots hug the bottom edges of the wings. Black legs are loaded with long, white tufts of hair.

The caterpillar of the White Furcula is yellow or green with a dark brown diamond at the center of its body. This brown color also covers the head and runs a line down through a long, thin, forked tail. Furcula actually means 'forked' and this tail is about half as long as the caterpillar itself, and may be sticking straight up in the air or stretched behind the rear, extending the overall length of the larva. The segments behind the head may be swollen and come to points on either side, or they may be rounded, depending on maturity. The function of its coloring and pattern is to mimic the leaves, both alive and dried up, that it feeds on.

Look for adults and caterpillars on cherry trees, but also on willow and poplar trees. Two broods are produced each year and adults can be seen from spring through the end of summer.




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Notodontidae
          Genus: Furcula
            Species: borealis
Identifying Information
Scientific Name: Furcula borealis
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 30mm to 42mm (1.17in to 1.64in)
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: white, black, gray, orange, blue
Descriptors: metallic, shiny, patches, salt-and-pepper, grey, furry, flying, black dots
Territorial Map
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
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State of Delware graphic
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Canadian territory of Saskatchewan graphic
Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic


Territorial Reach (A-to-Z)
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
Canadian National Flag Graphic
Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
Mexican National Flag Graphic
Mexico
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
Graphic showing basic anatomy of a common North American butterfly and moth insect
1
Antennae: Butterflies and Moths have a pair of antennae on the head used as sensors.
2
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and proboscis.
3
Thorax: Home to the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
4
Abdomen: Contains vital internal organs such as the heart(s) and reproduction facilities.
5
Forewing: The upper, forward wing pair used for flying.
6
Hindwing: The lower, rearward wing pair used for flying.
NOTE: Butterflies and Moths are part of the Lepidopteran order as they share many similarities.