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Delicate Cycnia (Cycnia tenera)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Delicate Cycnia



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Image Credit: The Adams Family from Lynchburg, VA
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The Delicate Cycnia is also known as the Dogbane Tiger Moth, an ethereal gold and white moth with the uncommon ability to audibly communicate.



Updated: 09/23/2020; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Delicate Cycnias are a bright white with yellow on their head and on the edges on their wings. The white and yellow furry abdomen has 7 black dots on the dorsal side (back). More black dots line the lower side of the abdomen and pair up on the ventral side (belly). They are part of the Tiger Moth family, which sports some of the brightest and boldest moths in North America. Look for a Delicate Cycnia in garden, parks and meadows that harbor host plants. They can also be seen in fields and on roadsides.

Males can make a clicking sound to both attract females and attempt to throw off predatory bats. This skill is unusual for a moth. Females lay small lavender-colored eggs shaped like pellets under leaves. Caterpillars are covered in long, furry hairs. At any given age, they may be white, gray, or tan. They eat the foliage of dogbane, milkweed and Indian hemp. Two generations a year can be produced.





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: Erebidae
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          Genus: Cycnia
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            Species: tenera
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Cycnia tenera
Other Name(s): Dogbane Tiger Moth
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 25mm to 40mm (0.98" to 1.57")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: white, yellow
Descriptors: flying, buttery, click, noise, sound, spotted
Relative Size Comparison
Typical Range Between 25mm and 40mm
Lo: 25mm
Md: 32.5mm
Hi: 40mm
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 Delicate Cycnia 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 Delicate Cycnia. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

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