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Hibiscus Leaf Caterpillar Moth (Rusicada privata)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Hibiscus Leaf Caterpillar Moth

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Though the Hibiscus Leaf Caterpillar feeds on tropical and hardy hibiscus leaves, little else is known about this species.

Updated: 01/04/2022; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
The golden brown adult moth may sip nectar from flowers, but its larvae eat the leaves of hibiscus plants, a popular tropical flowering plant. Summers in the northern part of the continent are warm enough for this plant to thrive in a pot, so the moth has a reach that extends beyond the hot and humid southeastern U.S.. The bottoms of the moth's wings are scalloped, with the forewings creating a 'V' shaped cut out where the inner wings would meet. Two small white dots sit above a dark brown midline that crosses the wings. Darker brown smudges appear below the midline.

This moth is commonly seen in parts of Asia and on Pacific islands, where the host plant grows in its ideal climate. Caterpillars may be green, brown, tan, gray, or a shade very close to black. The base of the head is orange, but the face is a lighter brown with dark mottling on it. Yellow stripes line the sides from head to rear. A series of four tiny black dots may be visible on the top of each segment of the body.


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


Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Erebidae
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          Genus: Rusicada
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            Species: privata
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Rusicada privata
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 18mm to 25mm (0.70" to 0.98")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown; orange
Descriptors: tawny; flying

Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 18mm (0.7in) and 25mm (1.0in)
Lo: 18mm
Md: 21.5mm
Hi: 25mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Hibiscus Leaf Caterpillar 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 Hibiscus Leaf Caterpillar Moth. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.


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