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Distinct Quaker (Achatia distincta)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Distinct Quaker

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Image Credit: Alex -icycatelf- Bowen
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Image Credit: Steven K. from California, MD
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The various tan spots, lines, and streaks on the Distinct Quaker's wings almost completely upstage its smaller, warm coppery-brown tones.

Updated: 03/08/2022; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
The brown Distinct Quaker has distinguishing light brown, or tan, spots and marks on its wings. Each forewing has two large spots on near the outer edge; the lower one is shaped like a bean and may have a coppery hue overlaying it. The golden brown body is speckled with dark dots and has an array of hairs at the tip if its wings are spread open enough to reveal it. This moth is the only one of its kind in its genus here in North America.

Green caterpillars eat from a variety of plants. Ash, birch, crabapple, maple, and oak leaves are abundant food sources. Grape leaves also make a good host plant. The body of the caterpillar is ringed in yellow and has thin, white lines that extend down the sides.

Adults are active in early spring and summer. They are nocturnal, but are attracted to lights at night. Look for them in gardens and around deciduous forests where plenty of trees provide options for egg-laying.©InsectIdentification.org

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


Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Noctuidae
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          Genus: Achatia
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            Species: distincta
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Achatia distincta
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 18mm to 20mm (0.70" to 0.78")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown; tan; orange
Descriptors: copper hairs; tan spots; rippled edge; hairy; furry thorax; flying

Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 18mm (0.7in) and 20mm (0.8in)
Lo: 18mm
Md: 19mm
Hi: 20mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Canadian territory of Alberta graphic
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Canadian territory of Newfoundland and Labrador graphic
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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
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Distinct Quaker 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 Distinct Quaker. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.


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