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Red-humped Caterpillar Moth (Schizura concinna)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Red-humped Caterpillar Moth

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Image Credit: Alex -icycatelf- Bowen
Full-sized image of the Red-Humped-Caterpillar-Moth Thumbnail image of the Red-Humped-Caterpillar-Moth

The bright and highly patterned caterpillar of this somewhat plain, brown moth gets all the attention.

Updated: 10/02/2019; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
The Red-humped Caterpillar Moth is light brown with reddish color on the inner middle part of the forewings. A profusely hairy thorax seems neatly cropped once it reaches the wings, allow the auburn part of the wings to easily show. A single black dot and a black dash at the 'shoulder' are really the only other useful markers for identifying it.

The caterpillar, however, has a bright red head and a similar-sized red hump on the upper part of its back. The body is black with thin yellow and white stripes. Thicker orange stripes may have formed on the sides of the body with broken black lines in it. Small black spikes stick out of the body around each segment, and each one may have a bristled hair sticking out from its tip. The rear end raises up in a defensive position if it feels threatened.

This caterpillar is easy to recognize, which is convenient because it is a pest on many types of orchard and nut trees. Leaves are eaten almost completely, leaving only its veins behind on twigs and branches. Young trees and those standing alone in a park or yard can be completely defoliated by the feeding habit of this larva. Pear, apple, peach, almond, apricot, plum, and cherry trees are suitable host plants. Other deciduous trees like willow, cottonwood, birch, and redbuds are also used. In small numbers, healthy and mature trees recover. Fruit and nuts remain on the tree unharmed by the insect, but might suffer from increased sun exposure once the shade of leaves have been eaten away. Cutting off branches that contain feeding caterpillars and destroying them can help reduce their impact. Allowing parasitic wasps and other natural predators to thrive also helps control the number of caterpillars. Using chemical insecticides against this caterpillar might also hurt friendly pollinator species, so natural methods to contain and control populations is more common.

General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Burning icon
Flying insect icon
Hairy insect icon
Patterned 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: concinna
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Schizura concinna
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 17mm to 21mm (0.66" to 0.82")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown; red
Descriptors: brown; auburn; red; hairy thorax; flying; brown dots at bottom of wings
Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 17mm (0.7in) and 21mm (0.8in)
Lo: 17mm
Md: 19mm
Hi: 21mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Canadian territory of Alberta graphic
Canadian territory of British Columbia graphic
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Canadian territory of Newfoundland and Labrador graphic
Canadian territory of Ontario graphic
Canadian territory of Quebec graphic
Canadian territory of Saskatchewan graphic
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 Red-humped Caterpillar 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 Red-humped Caterpillar Moth. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

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