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Porcelain Gray (Protoboarmia procelaria)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Porcelain Gray

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Image Credit: Arch Baker
Full-sized image of the Porcelain-Gray-Moth Thumbnail image of the Porcelain-Gray-Moth
Image Credit: Peter S., taken in Acton, MA
Full-sized image #2 of the Porcelain-Gray-Moth Thumbnail image #2 of the Porcelain-Gray-Moth

A blend of grays and browns, the Porcelain Gray's wings are delicate and varied.

Updated: 07/07/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
The Porcelain Gray Moth has a creamy base color. The wings are a mix of faint, earth-toned wavy and scalloped lines. On the outer, front edge of each forewing, three dark tabs mark the beginning of each wave. A short, dark streak near the second tab follows that contour toward the center of the wing. At the lower outer edge of each wing, a fourth, lower dark patch highlights the white scalloped line that crosses near the bottom of all the flattened wings.

The caterpillar of the Porcelain Gray is narrow and long. The mottled brown coloring and stiff posture on a branch mimic a twig, helping it avoid predators. Along the 'spine', a black line of dashes runs from the back of the head to the rear. Because of its crawling behavior, the Porcelain Gray's caterpillar is also called a Dash-Lined Looper. When it moves forward, it brings its rear right up behind its head, forcing the tubular body to form an arc or loop in that moment. It then reaches the front of its body forward to make progress, inch-by-inch. These larvae feed on many types of conifers like pine, fir, hemlock, spruce, and cedar trees. Deciduous trees like oak, poplar, and birch are also common host plants. The Porcelain Gray is a common moth in the eastern part of the continent and can be found in a variety of forest habitats thanks to its diverse host preferences.

General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon


Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Geometridae
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          Genus: Protoboarmia
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            Species: procelaria
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Protoboarmia procelaria
Other Name(s): Dash-lined Looper
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 26mm to 35mm (1.02" to 1.37")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown, gray, white, tan
Descriptors: flying, wavy, bars

Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 26mm (1.0in) and 35mm (1.4in)
Lo: 26mm
Md: 30.5mm
Hi: 35mm
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 Porcelain Gray 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 Porcelain Gray. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.


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