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Olive-shaded Bird-dropping Moth (Ponometia candefacta)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Olive-shaded Bird-dropping Moth

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Like many of its kind, the Olive-shaded Bird-dropping Moth is colored like the least appetizing thing a predator can find on a plant.

Updated: 01/04/2022; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
The Olive-shaded Bird-dropping Moth is part white and a mix of other colors. A mix of muted green, brown, gray, and yellow cover much of the middle and lower half of the wings. A round, gray spot outlined in white sits on the lower side of each forewing and is a useful identification feature. It is commonly found on the edge of woodlands and in old, overgrown fields.

This is a nocturnal species, but it can be forced out of its daytime hiding spot. Because the caterpillar eats ragweed, adults are often found on it. This plant can grow up to 45 cm (18 inches) tall, so brushing past it incites moths to fly away. Adults are also attracted to light at night. Slender green caterpillars have thin white stripes which form on the head and extend to the rear end. The feeding activity of this caterpillar is welcome to those with ragweed allergies.©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: Noctuidae
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          Genus: Ponometia
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            Species: candefacta
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Ponometia candefacta
Other Name(s): Olive-shaded Bird Lime Moth
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 11mm to 12mm (0.43" to 0.47")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: white; green; yellow; brown; gray
Descriptors: poop; mottled; multicolored; small; flying; skinny; gray dot

Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 11mm (0.4in) and 12mm (0.5in)
Lo: 11mm
Md: 11.5mm
Hi: 12mm
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 Olive-shaded Bird-dropping 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 Olive-shaded Bird-dropping Moth. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.


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