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Gold Moth (Basilodes pepita)


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



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Full-sized image of the Gold-Moth Thumbnail image of the Gold-Moth
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Full-sized image #2 of the Gold-Moth Thumbnail image #2 of the Gold-Moth

Gold Moths have an unmistakable metallic gleam that catches the eye, and its caterpillar is just as noteworthy.



Updated: 07/06/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Thin brown lines etch their way across the golden wings of the Gold Moth. Each forewing has a thin brown ring, and beneath it, a reniform spot with a tiny black dot in its center. The thorax has a tuft of darker hairs that are similar in color to the dark fringe along the bottom edges of the wings. Adults are most active in the hottest part of the summer through autumn.

The boldly-colored caterpillar is black with an orange-red head. The sides of the body have thick orange-red spots, and white dots sit just above the feet. This black rings cross over the 'back', breaking open when they reach the orange-red spots. When bothered, the caterpillar tucks its head in like a turtle and lifts its rear end. The host plant of this species is crown-beard, a type of wildflower that has small yellow or white flowers that look like mini-sunflowers.




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




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Noctuidae
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          Genus: Basilodes
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            Species: pepita
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Basilodes pepita
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 18mm to 24mm (0.70" to 0.94")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: gold; yellow; orange; brown
Descriptors: metallic; shimmer; golden; flying; brown rings; black dot
Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 18mm (0.7in) and 24mm (0.9in)
Lo: 18mm
Md: 21mm
Hi: 24mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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State of Delware graphic
State of Florida graphic
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State of Maine graphic
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State of Minnesota graphic
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State of Nebraska graphic
State of Nevada graphic
State of New England graphic
State of New Jersey graphic
State of New Mexico graphic
State of New York graphic
State of North Carolina graphic
State of North Dakota graphic
State of Ohio graphic
State of Oklahoma graphic
State of Oregon graphic
State of Pennsylvania graphic
State of South Carolina graphic
State of South Dakota graphic
State of Tennessee graphic
State of Texas graphic
State of Utah graphic
State of Virginia graphic
State of Washington graphic
State of West Virginia graphic
State of Wisconsin graphic
State of Wyoming graphic
Canadian territory of Alberta graphic
Canadian territory of British Columbia graphic
Canadian territory of Manitoba graphic
Canadian territory of New Brunswick graphic
Canadian territory of Newfoundland and Labrador graphic
Canadian territory of Ontario graphic
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 Gold 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 Gold Moth. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

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