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Chosen Sallow (Psaphida electilis)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Chosen Sallow

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The well-camouflaged Chosen Sallow is found in woodland forests, walking along tree bark where it blends in seamlessly.

Updated: 04/30/2022; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Many moths in this family are seen walking in short, quick spurts on trees. The pattern and colors of the moth are similar to bark, and are also difficult to describe. In northern states and provinces, this moth appears mainly brown. In the southern part of its range, it may appear gray. A golden brown spot on the inner bottom corner of its forewings is usually visible in northern moths. This same golden brown color is also seen in a long, rounded streak on the inner upper part of its wings. Other large reniform spots sit between these marks. Some individuals have a black line running down the inner parts of both forewings; some lack this.

What all Chosen Sallows have in common is a preferred host plant for their caterpillars. Walnut and hickory trees provide leafy food for larvae. Fertilized eggs are laid on leaf buds so the new hatchling is right next to its first meal. The caterpillar is two shades of green: lighter on the top (dorsal) side, and medium green on the lower side. Thin yellow lines runs down the 'spine' and along the sides. Pale dots on the entire body seem random, but on closer inspection, are ordered and symmetrical. Pupae overwinter, and sometimes remain in this stage longer until conditions are optimal.

Adult moths are nocturnal, but come to lights at night. They are most active in spring. Look for them in forests filled where host trees grow, or on woodland edges.©InsectIdentification.org

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General Characteristics

Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon
Harmless insect icon
Patterned insect icon
Striped or banded insect icon

Taxonomic Hierarchy

Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Noctuidae
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          Genus: Psaphida
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            Species: electilis

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Psaphida electilis
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 21mm to 22mm (0.82" to 0.86")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown; gray; white; black
Descriptors: jagged lines; bronze; tawny; brown spot; oblong; flying; light hindwings; harmless; pantry

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 21mm (0.8in) and 22mm (0.9in)
Lo: 21mm
Md: 21.5mm
Hi: 22mm

Territorial Map*

U.S., Canada, and 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 Chosen Sallow 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 Chosen Sallow. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.
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