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Little White Lichen Moth (Clemensia albata)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Little White Lichen Moth

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The well-distributed pale Little White Lichen Moth feeds on the symbiotic organism it is named after.

Updated: 01/04/2022; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Little White Lichen Moths are indeed white, but they are also peppered with gray and black flecks that form two separate makeshift lines across the wings; one above and one below the middle of the wings. Pale brown shading streaks down the wings. A black crescent mark sits along the lower line, slightly closer to the outer edge of each forewing. A black and white checkered fringe runs the bottoms of the wings.

Lichens are part fungus and part algae. They are commonly found slowly growing on the sides of stones, boulders, and tree trunks. The Little White Lichen Moth caterpillar feeds off the lichen, thanks to the algal component. It also eats the algae as it grows alone, but because it is often seen on the lichen, the name stuck.

This moth can be found all over the continent in areas where lichens and algae grow. Woodlands, forests, and parks are great places to look for them. They fly only during the warmest parts of the year within their range. This means they are around much longer in the warmer southern states than in northern states and provinces.©InsectIdentification.org

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General Characteristics

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

Taxonomic Hierarchy

Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Erebidae
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          Genus: Clemensia
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            Species: albata

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Clemensia albata
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 9mm to 13mm (0.35" to 0.51")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: white; black; brown
Descriptors: spotted; speckled; flying

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 9mm (0.4in) and 13mm (0.5in)
Lo: 9mm
Md: 11mm
Hi: 13mm

Territorial Map*

U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Territory map graphic of the country of 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 Little White Lichen 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 Little White Lichen Moth. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.
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