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False Crocus Geometer (Xanthotype urticaria)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the False Crocus Geometer

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False Crocus Geometers are medium-sized yellow moths that could almost pass for butterflies.

Updated: 01/03/2022; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
The False Crocus Geometer is a yellow moth with such variation, it is difficult to tell it apart from a close relative, the Crocus Geometer Moth. It could have purple-brown lines crossing its wings, or disconnected lines instead. Some individuals are pale yellow, but many are generally a richer, deep yellow. Small spots and freckles of brown or purple may be present all over the wings. Because so many variations resemble the variation of the Crocus Geometer Moth, the two are identical and might even be a single species. For this reason, the images seen for the False Crocus Geometer also appear for the Crocus Geometer.

A small purple, yellow, or white flower blooms from the low-growing crocus plant. It is considered a cold-weather perennial and is often the first blooming flower in spring, even if snow is still on the ground. Despite its name, the False Crocus Geometer's caterpillar feeds on a diverse group of trees and shrubs like dogwood and goldenrod where the woody branches hide the twig-like larva. Catnip and ivy are also good forage. One or two broods can be produced each year.©InsectIdentification.org

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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: Geometridae
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          Genus: Xanthotype
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            Species: urticaria
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Xanthotype urticaria
Other Name(s): Buttercup Moth; Rufous Geometer Moth
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 30mm to 40mm (1.18" to 1.57")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: yellow; brown; purple; red
Descriptors: yellow; brown spots; red spots; purple; speckles; freckles; dots; flying

Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 30mm (1.2in) and 40mm (1.6in)
Lo: 30mm
Md: 35mm
Hi: 40mm
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 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 False Crocus Geometer 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 False Crocus Geometer. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.


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