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Abbreviated Button Slug Moth (Tortricidia flexuosa)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Abbreviated Button Slug Moth

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One look at the fascinating caterpillar of the Abbreviated Button Slug Moth and its common name becomes clear.

Updated: 01/26/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Slug Moths are a group of moths with caterpillars that look less like a typical tubular caterpillar and more like a garden slug. This species is no exception. The green caterpillar has a rounded, oblong body shaped like an egg. Two yellow lines run down the center of the back (dorsal side). What really sticks out though is a large, deep red dot, akin to an elevator button, right in the middle of its back. As it matures, this red dot expands and begins to 'bleed' toward the head and rear, and a little down the sides of the body.

On the other hand, the adult Abbreviated Button Slug Moth is much less conspicuous. It is small and light brown. A dark U-shaped line curves on both wings. Its abdomen sticks up, poking out above its wings. The tops of the legs are furry, but the lower part by the 'feet' are not. This moth and its larvae can be found on the eastern side of the continent in deciduous forests. Caterpillars eat leaves from oak and chestnut trees as well as fruit trees like apple, cherry, and plum.

General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon
Hairy insect icon
Patterned insect icon
Pest insect icon
Striped or banded insect icon


Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Limacodidae
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          Genus: Tortricidia
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            Species: flexuosa
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Tortricidia flexuosa
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 8mm to 12mm (0.31" to 0.47")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown, green, yellow, red
Descriptors: U line, tail up, hairy, flying, red dot caterpillar, flattened body, tree pest

Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 8mm (0.3in) and 12mm (0.5in)
Lo: 8mm
Md: 10mm
Hi: 12mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
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Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Abbreviated Button Slug Moth may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Abbreviated Button Slug Moth. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.


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