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Copper Underwing (Amphipyra pyramidoides)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Copper Underwing



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Image Credit: Alex -icycatelf- Bowen
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Image Credit: Kathleen P. from Schuyler Lake, NY
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The Copper Underwing has gleaming orange hindwings that are kept tucked away most of the time.



Updated: 01/26/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Despite its name, the Copper Underwing is not actually part of the Underwing family and lacks the thick dark band on the hindwing seen in those moths. Instead it is in the Amphipyrine Sallow family. The bright orange hindwings of this species look a lot like the type of thing one would see in Underwing moths, so it is possible this characteristic influenced its common name. A woodland moth, the Copper Underwing tends to keep its flashy colors under wraps to avoid being conspicuous. It can be found walking along tree trunks, which it expertly blends in with. The dark brown moth has a medium-sized tan spot on the middle of each forewing. The lower part of the forewings is lighter in color than the upper part. Streaks of dark color add contrast to this paler area. Legs have black and white bands on them.

The caterpillar is pale green and has a peak-shaped hump near the rear end. It is often parasitized by wasps and other insects and their white capsule-shaped eggs may be sticking to its body. Food sources for the caterpillar are varied and numerous. Vines like Virginia creeper, raspberry, and grape offer leafy nutrition. Leaves from oak, willow, elm, maple, and birch trees are also eaten.




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




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Noctuidae
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          Genus: Amphipyra
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            Species: pyramidoides
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Amphipyra pyramidoides
Other Name(s): American Copper Underwing; Humped Green Fruitworm; Pyramidal Green Fruitworm
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 23mm to 28mm (0.90" to 1.10")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown, orange
Descriptors: spot, pale bottom, orange, flying, hump, bump
Relative Size Comparison
Typical Range Between 23mm and 28mm
Lo: 23mm
Md: 25.5mm
Hi: 28mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Copper Underwing 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 Copper Underwing. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

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