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Large Maple Spanworm Moth (Prochoerodes lineola)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Large Maple Spanworm Moth

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Image Credit: Arch Baker
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Image Credit: Mickey from Grand Prairie, Alberta
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Variation between individual Large Maple Spanworm Moths makes it possible to think several different moths are hanging out.

Updated: 07/06/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Some Large Maple Spanworm Moths are yellow, while others are brown, dark brown, and even shades of deep purple. Some have a thin line that transverses its forewings and abdomen. Others have dark markings resembling a set of parentheses near the head. Many have a small black dot on the upper half of each hindwing. What seems like a lot of differences already is compounded in that still others lack all of that. This species is nocturnal and is attracted to lights at night.

The caterpillar is brown and thin, resembling a twig. It raises one end of its body and stretches outward as if a part of a new branch on a tree. This position offers some protection from predators like birds and bats , which may overlook the caterpillar as part of the tree. These young Large Maple Spanworms feed on a variety of trees, including maple, apple, oak, cherry, willow, and poplar. Smaller plants like geraniums, grasses, and sweet fern are also good host plants. This diverse diet means that adults can be found in a variety of places including hardwood forests, parks, gardens, patios, meadows and orchards. They are active from spring through summer and are common in their vast range.

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


Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Geometridae
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          Genus: Prochoerodes
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            Species: lineola
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Prochoerodes lineola
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 35mm to 50mm (1.37" to 1.96")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: yellow, brown, purple
Descriptors: bark, lines, dot, angled, curved, hook, flying, pointed tips

Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 35mm (1.4in) and 50mm (2.0in)
Lo: 35mm
Md: 42.5mm
Hi: 50mm
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 Large Maple Spanworm 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 Large Maple Spanworm Moth. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.


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