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Cream-bordered Dichomeris (Dichomeris flavocostella)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Cream-bordered Dichomeris

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This moth's elegant curves made by contrasting colors might cause one to overlook the distressing appetite of its offspring.

Updated: 01/26/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Caterpillars of the Cream-bordered Dichomeris are small and feed on goldenrod, sunflower, and aster plants. They have dark heads and white-and-brown striped bodies. A caterpillar uses its silk to tie leaves together, so they are also called 'leaf tiers' (pronounced 'ty-ers'). This strategy hides the caterpillar from predators while it eats away at the bud in middle, effectually eating the flower before it has a chance to grow. Left unchecked, a population of these caterpillars can result in few blooms on an affected plant.

Adults are small, but attractive. Dark purple-black fills in the center and the bottom of the forewings. The outer edges are lined in a creamy ivory color that extends into the darkness in the bottom half of the wings. The curvy pattern created by the two colors is distinct and easy to see. The labial palps in front of the face actually curl upward, creating the illusion of horns on the head. The moth is active only in the warmest months of the year.©InsectIdentification.org

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General Characteristics

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

Taxonomic Hierarchy

Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Gelechiidae
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          Genus: Dichomeris
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            Species: flavocostella

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Dichomeris flavocostella
Other Name(s): Cream-edged Dichomeris
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 8mm to 9mm (0.31" to 0.35")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: black; ivory; yellow; purple; gray
Descriptors: cream sides; black center; flying

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 8mm (0.3in) and 9mm (0.4in)
Lo: 8mm
Md: 8.5mm
Hi: 9mm

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 Cream-bordered Dichomeris 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 Cream-bordered Dichomeris. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

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