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

Updated: 01/05/2022; 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 rises 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 trio of colors on the Red-headed Bush Cricket makes up three different body parts: the bright red head, a black body, and pale yellow legs. An assembly of these particular colors in one insect is unusual in the cricket world. Most crickets are brown or black, which makes them better able to blend into the thatch and grasses that they eat from. This species has a set of palps in front of the head, which look like a short set of antennae. These palps have bulges, or knobs at the end of them which makes them look like padded boxing gloves. What's more, the cricket displays pugilism by constantly moving them around when it is anxious or excited.

Females have a long curved spine that extends from the tip of the abdomen. This is an ovipositor; crickets do not have stingers. It is used to deposit eggs into the soil to better hide them from predators and bad weather. Males make high-pitched trills to females in the area. The trill is created by rubbing its wings together at the base. One wing has a set of plates called a 'file'; the other wing has a flat 'scraper' that runs along the plates to create the noise. The motion is similar to flipping pages in a book, or cards in a deck. In the eastern part of the continent, this sound is a familiar one in summertime. Red-headed Bush Crickets are active all spring and summer. They can be found in areas with tall grasses or bushes. Look and listen for them about one meter or three feet above ground level.©InsectIdentification.org

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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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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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