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Curve-lined Owlet Moth (Phyprosopus callitrichoides)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Curve-lined Owlet Moth



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Image Credit: Ethan M.
Full-sized image of the Curve-lined-Owlet-Moth Thumbnail image of the Curve-lined-Owlet-Moth

The small, strange-looking caterpillar gets more attention than the woodland adult.



Updated: 01/26/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
A pale, curved line gently crosses the tawny brown wings of the Curve-lined Owlet moth. Each line angles toward the head and meet just below the midway point on the inner wings. The front labial palps meet together and create a pointed ?nose?. Both features enhance the triangular shape of this moth.

The odd-looking caterpillar has its own set of distinctive features. The body seems to be broken, bending at unusual angles in the middle part. A white marking looks almost like a saddle in that area. A tremendously long horn or spike-like projection grows upward from the middle-front of the body. A second, shorter one curls toward the rear end. The overall color of the caterpillar may be golden brown, rusty-brown, or pale olive green. Often, both the head and the rear end are held above the branch, stem, or twig it is standing on, leaving only a few prologs where the ?saddle? is to secure the caterpillar to its host plant. This species feeds on greenbriers, plants in the Smilax genus, which are thorny vines that grow on other plants. Greenbrier thorns may be short or long, but they are always sharp. Someone pricked by it may mistake it for a sting from a bee or wasp because it hides so well in seemingly harmless shrubs.

Look for the adult and larva in woodlands and the more open areas just outside them. They may also be in more developed areas like office parks and backyards that unwittingly harbor greenbriers growing through border hedges and privacy screens.




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


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Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Erebidae
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          Genus: Phyprosopus
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            Species: callitrichoides
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Phyprosopus callitrichoides
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 28mm to 35mm (1.10" to 1.37")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: red; brown; tan; ivory
Descriptors: 'V' shape; white legs; rusty; tawny; pointed nose; beak; pointed wings; weird bent caterpillar;
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Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 28mm (1.1in) and 35mm (1.4in)
Lo: 28mm
Md: 31.5mm
Hi: 35mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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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 Curve-lined Owlet 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 Curve-lined Owlet Moth. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

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