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Morning-glory Prominent (Schizura ipomaeae)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Morning-glory Prominent

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The Morning Glory Prominent is not an early riser though the coffee bean mark on its wings and its name may suggest it is.

Updated: 08/29/2022; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
The Morning-glory Prominent has many variations of color and pattern on its forewings. The bean-shaped marking is helpful in narrowing it down to Prominent moths, but other members of this family share similar colors and markings. The head and thorax are covered in fur. Many have wings that are dark near the midline and light ivory on the outer edges. Some are all-around light in color and show lines or dashes on the lower part of each wing. When resting with wings closed, the abdomen may rise upward, exposing its tip between the wings.

Caterpillars are mostly brown, but have a green band just behind the head. Right where the green band meets the brown body, the 'spine' area is raised forming a reddish, nubby, antennae-like extension that splits in two. A pair of small bumps lines both sides of the white-colored 'spine'. The lower half of the caterpillar is thicker, forming a hump where some the bumps grow into small 'antennae'. They eat leaves from a variety of trees like maple, birch, elm, oak, and basswood. It was once thought that this species fed from morning glory flowering vines; this is now considered unlikely. Adults are nocturnal and will come to lights at night. Look for them in deciduous hardwood forests where host trees are growing.©InsectIdentification.org

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General Characteristics

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

Taxonomic Hierarchy

Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Notodontidae
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          Genus: Schizura
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            Species: ipomaeae

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Schizura ipomaeae
Other Name(s): Checkered Fringe Prominent, False Unicorn Caterpillar
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 20mm to 25mm (0.78" to 0.98")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown; tan; gray
Descriptors: furry; coffee bean mark; puka shell; flying

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 20mm (0.8in) and 25mm (1.0in)
Lo: 20mm
Md: 22.5mm
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 Morning-glory Prominent 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 Morning-glory Prominent. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

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