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Florida Fern Moth (Callopistria floridensis)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Florida Fern Moth



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Image Credit: Arch Baker
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Image Credit: Arch Baker
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The humidity and heat of the Deep South, Texas, and Mexico are welcome elements for the Florida Fern Moth.



Updated: 03/23/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Like the tropical ferns the caterpillar feeds on, the Florida Fern Moth not only tolerates, but prefers sticky, warm weather. The brown moth is active pretty much all year in Florida, though it is also at home in the southern coastal states of the U.S. and well into Mexico.

A 'V'-shaped brown line is outlined in white when looking at the wings from overhead. Hairy legs radiate outward from under the body. A small tuft of reddish-orange hairs peek out from between the wings. A mosaic of tan, ivory, white, and brown covers the wings. The plump caterpillar may be green and forming black bars on its 'spine', or it may be completely black depending on its maturity. Fertilized eggs are laid on the leaves of many types of fern plants, which will feed the hungry larvae once they hatch. Look for the moth and the caterpillar on ferns hanging from porches, nestled among woodlands, or even in plant nurseries.




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




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Noctuidae
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          Genus: Callopistria
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            Species: floridensis
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Callopistria floridensis
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 17mm to 21mm (0.66" to 0.82")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown, tan, white
Descriptors: sharp angles, flying, golden brown, shards
Relative Size Comparison
Typical Range Between 17mm and 21mm
Lo: 17mm
Md: 19mm
Hi: 21mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
State of Alabama graphic
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State of Utah graphic
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Canadian territory of Alberta graphic
Canadian territory of British Columbia graphic
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Canadian territory of New Brunswick graphic
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
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Florida Fern 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 Florida Fern Moth. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

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