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Riding's Fairy Moth (Adela ridingsella)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Riding's Fairy Moth

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Image Credit: Alex -icycatelf- Bowen
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This tiny moth has antennae longer than its dainty body, which is fashionably dressed with a silver belt.

Updated: 07/09/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Less than a centimeter long, Riding's Fairy Moth would be easy to miss if it wasn't so ornate. A shiny, silver band crosses the wings at the middle. Below that, large and small black spots are highlighted with silver. The face is covered in unkempt, overgrown hairs. The overall color of the moth is golden brown though some may look more yellow-brown. Extremely long antennae extend well beyond the moth and are almost twice the length of it.

Caterpillars are believed to feed on Virginia creeper, a native vine. Adults can sometimes be seen drinking nectar from flowers though they are nocturnal.

General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Insect antennae icon
Flying insect icon
Hairy insect icon
Patterned insect icon
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Striped or banded insect icon


Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Adelidae
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          Genus: Adela
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            Species: ridingsella
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Adela ridingsella
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 7mm to 7mm (0.27" to 0.27")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown; orange; black; white; silver
Descriptors: silver band; silver line; long antennae; small; tiny; colorful; black spots; shiny; copper; leopard; jaguar spots; hairy face; flying

Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 7mm (0.3in) and 7mm (0.3in)
Lo: 7mm
Md: 7mm
Hi: 7mm
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 Riding's Fairy 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 Riding's Fairy Moth. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.


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