A robust body, feathery tufts of hair, woolly legs and conspicuous markings make the Zig-Zag Furcula Moth one to look for come nightfall.
The Zig-Zag Furcula Moth is strictly nocturnal, only becoming active at sundown. It is attracted to lights at night. They prefer wet deciduous forests, but span the western part of the continent from Canada and into Mexico. They are most active in flight during the summer months, but may been seen as early as mid-spring. Its legs, upper half, and abdomen are white and very hairy. Black, yellow, and gold hairs cover the thorax region like a hood on a cape. At the middle of the wings, a black and gold hairy patch forms a small zig-zag when the two wings meet. The white wings have faint black lines that scallop across the lower area by dark patches near the wing tips. Black dots border the bottom edge of the forewings.
Caterpillars are shaped like a rolled leaf. The rear of the caterpillar extends into a long 'stem'. The head of the caterpillar is large and flat in front, as if mimicking a flat edge of a torn leaf. The plump, hairless larva changes colors and pattern as it matures. It can be green with brown spots on the dorsal side (back), or yellow/tan with a larger brown spot draping it. Small eyespots dot the sides of the body. The larval caterpillar feeds on the leaves of popular trees like birch, cottonwood and willows.
Scientific Name: Furcula scolopendrina
Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 17mm to 20mm (0.66in to 0.78in)
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.