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Clover Hayworm Moth (Hypsopygia costalis)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Clover Hayworm Moth

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Image Credit: Alex -icycatelf- Bowen
Full-sized image of the Clover-Hayworm--Moth Thumbnail image of the Clover-Hayworm--Moth

Clover Hayworms ruin good hay, but can also cause trouble in homes decked out with dried floral arrangements.

Updated: 01/26/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
The overall color of a Clover Hayworm Moth falls between wine-purple and deeper shades of purple. A wide yellow fringe borders the bottoms of the forewings. Each wing has two yellow angled marks on the outer edge. Faint yellow lines curve across the wings, connecting the left and right spots. These colors and markings are similar to those seen in the Pink-fringed Dolichomia and the Yellow-fringed Dolichomia. Eyes are large and legs are yellow.

The caterpillar is called the Clover Hayworm. Clover hay is harvested and bundled for use as horse feed. The larvae worm their way into haystacks and cover them with caterpillar silk. Inside, they feed on the leaves of the clover plant, ruining the bundles. A full-on infestation can occur inside hay barns making them an agricultural pest. Their diet also leaves room for other dried plant matter and homes decorating with dried flowers may also see activity. Dried herbs are also attractive food sources. In their natural environment, however, the Clover Hayworm Moth and its larvae are not considered a nuisance.

General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon


Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Pyralidae
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          Genus: Hypsopygia
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            Species: costalis
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Hypsopygia costalis
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 13mm to 19mm (0.51" to 0.74")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: purple, red, yellow, pink; brown
Descriptors: wine, maroon, burgundy, flying, fringe

Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 13mm (0.5in) and 19mm (0.7in)
Lo: 13mm
Md: 16mm
Hi: 19mm
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 Clover Hayworm 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 Clover Hayworm Moth. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.


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