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Faint-spotted Palthis (Palthis asopialis)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Faint-spotted Palthis

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Image Credit: Arch Baker
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The wings of the Faint-spotted Palthis flare out and fold up while resting, adding dimension to its profile.

Updated: 01/03/2022; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
The strong, triangular shape of the Faint-spotted Palthis is often seen in Litter Moths. A narrow head and flared out wings share a similar look to some jet fighters. The profile of this species is also interesting. The middle of the wing curls up just enough to create a ridge, like a crease in a folding umbrella, which is best seen from the side view. The body of the moth is strongly arched, giving it a humpback. In addition to all of these features, the pattern on the moth is also useful for identifying it. Because individuals can range from light brown and taupe to dark brown with purple tones, the black patch at the top of the crease on each wing helps distinguish it from others in the same genus. A second black mark on the lower half of the wing has a thin, curved tan line crossing it. A wide dark band stretches between the tops of the wing creases, and dark patches along the bottom edge flank them. Hairy legs are often held in front of the face, extending its perceived length.

The caterpillars of the Faint-spotted Palthis feed on all sorts of plant leaves. Crops like corn and beans, flowering plants like coralberry and Spanish needle, and oak trees are all food sources. The dark brown caterpillar has light diagonal stripes that accentuate the segment bumps, and the rear end is flattened and raised, like a ramp. One or two broods are produced each year.©InsectIdentification.org

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General Characteristics

Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon
Rounded insect body icon
Striped or banded insect icon

Taxonomic Hierarchy

Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Erebidae
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          Genus: Palthis
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            Species: asopialis

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Palthis asopialis
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 15mm to 16mm (0.59" to 0.62")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown; tan; gray
Descriptors: humpback; arched; hunch; rounded; ruffled wings; folded wing; rolled; crease; triangle; b2; fighter jet; black mark; tan dash; light brown line; flying

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 15mm (0.6in) and 16mm (0.6in)
Lo: 15mm
Md: 15.5mm
Hi: 16mm

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
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Faint-spotted Palthis 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 Faint-spotted Palthis. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.
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