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Cross-lined Wave (Timandra amaturaria)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Cross-lined Wave



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Image Credit: Alex -icycatelf- Bowen
Full-sized image of the Cross-Lined-Wave-Moth Thumbnail image of the Cross-Lined-Wave-Moth

Lines across wings and pointy tips are not uncommon among Wave moths, but the Cross-lined Wave manages to stand out among them.



Updated: 01/26/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
This species is the only representative of its genus on the continent. Other Wave moths share similar features, like the Hemlock Looper and Large Maple Spanworm, but the Cross-lined Wave's combination of markings is unique and easy to discern. A common resting position for the Cross-lined Wave has the wings open and flat. This best displays the middle, dark, almost straight, line that crosses every wing. Short lines curve near the top of the wings, and a lower line meanders across the bottom parts. A dark brown fringe graces the edges of the pointed wings. The brown lines and the many small freckles of brown over the entire moth create a look similar to tree rings. Males have comb-like antennae; females do not.

The Caterpillar is also called a Cobra Inchworm thanks to both its appearance and its behavior. The golden brown or chocolate brown larva has a bulge in the body near the head similar to the area where cobra snakes flare out when alarmed. White angled lines on the sides of the body accentuate the curve created when the caterpillar crawls. It may raise its head off of a leaf, and curl itself into a question mark shape, like a cobra about to strike. Crested bindweed, buckwheat, and dock are satisfying food sources.




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




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Geometridae
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          Genus: Timandra
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            Species: amaturaria
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Timandra amaturaria
Other Name(s): Cobra Inchworm (larva)
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 20mm to 28mm (0.78" to 1.10")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown; tan
Descriptors: straight brown line; woodgrain; freckles; point wings; brown wing tips; flying
Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 20mm (0.8in) and 28mm (1.1in)
Lo: 20mm
Md: 24mm
Hi: 28mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Canadian territory of Alberta graphic
Canadian territory of British Columbia graphic
Canadian territory of Manitoba graphic
Canadian territory of New Brunswick graphic
Canadian territory of Newfoundland and Labrador graphic
Canadian territory of Ontario graphic
Canadian territory of Quebec graphic
Canadian territory of Saskatchewan graphic
Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Cross-lined Wave 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 Cross-lined Wave. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

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