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Four-spotted Gluphisia Moth (Gluphisia avimacula)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Four-spotted Gluphisia Moth



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Image Credit: T.J.C. from Derry, NH
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The overall colors of this moth may differ between individuals, but four orange spots unite them all as one species.



Updated: 05/21/2020; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
The four spots that make a Four-spotted Gluphisia what it is are found in the same places, regardless of what the rest of the moth looks like. Two small orange dots are near the head and are sometimes hidden by the mess of hair on the thorax. The other two are more obvious and larger, resting on the middle band of color in the center of each wing. These two orange spots may actually have a shape close to that of a curvy check mark or 'V'. The rest of the moth's colors can vary, but two variations are common. A pale brown, almost tan moth with a wavy, golden-brown middle band is the lighter one. The darker variation has a black head and thorax and a wavy, black middle band where the orange spots sit. The other two bands are gray.

This is a nocturnal moth and is only seen at night near artificial lights. Caterpillars feed on poplar trees, so woods, parks, and backyards with that host plant are likely to harbor them.




General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Insect antennae icon
Flying insect icon
Hairy insect icon
Striped or banded insect icon




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Notodontidae
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          Genus: Gluphisia
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            Species: avimacula
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Gluphisia avimacula
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 18mm to 22mm (0.70" to 0.86")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown; tan; orange; gray; black
Descriptors: four orange marks; orange check marks; black band; hairy; big antennae; flying
Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 18mm (0.7in) and 22mm (0.9in)
Lo: 18mm
Md: 20mm
Hi: 22mm
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
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Four-spotted Gluphisia 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 Four-spotted Gluphisia Moth. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

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