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Large Tolype Moth (Tolype velleda)

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

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Image Credit: GBS from St. Charles, IL
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Image Credit: Shannon S. from Onekama, MI
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Its hard not to want to pet the fluffy brown and white Large Tolype Moth when it is resting within reach.

Updated: 01/04/2022; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
The Large Tolype Moth is a type of Lappet Moth. A lappet is a fold or flap historically seen on the white bonnets, or head coverings, worn by women in the 18th century. The caterpillar of this type of moth has a kind of flap on its prolegs, which are those back fleshy legs that eventually disappear after it develops. The adult moth has a very different look with a heap of white fur on its thorax, legs, and antennae. A dark mohawk on the thorax has a different texture than the white hairs around it. The wings are gray or taupe with thin white, wavy lines that cross them. Females are paler than males. This is a medium to large moth and all that extra fur adds to its visibility.

The dull gray caterpillar of the Large Tolype Moth is somewhat hairy and can be found eating the leaves and soft foliage of a variety of trees and shrubs. Common host plants include apple, plum, cherry, apricot, almond, birch, poplar, oak, beech and citrus trees. Feeding is most active in the summer months. Adults can be seen on or around these same plants from midsummer to autumn. They do not eat, and instead focus completely on reproduction.©InsectIdentification.org

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General Characteristics

Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon
Hairy insect icon
Striped or banded insect icon

Taxonomic Hierarchy

Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Lasiocampidae
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          Genus: Tolype
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            Species: velleda

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Tolype velleda
Other Name(s): Velleda Lappet Moth
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 15mm to 28mm (0.59" to 1.10")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: white; gray; brown
Descriptors: furry; fluffy; hairy; flying; tumor; fleshy; mohawk; dark; pale white lines

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 15mm (0.6in) and 28mm (1.1in)
Lo: 15mm
Md: 21.5mm
Hi: 28mm

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
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Large Tolype 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 Tolype Moth. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.
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