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Scarlet-winged Lichen Moth (Hypoprepia miniata)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Scarlet-winged Lichen Moth

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Image Credit: Brooke W. taken near Wasa Lake, BC
Full-sized image of the Scarlet-Winged-Lichen-Moth Thumbnail image of the Scarlet-Winged-Lichen-Moth

The medium-sized Scarlet-winged Lichen Moth adult has bright colors, while its dull caterpillar blends in nicely on the lichens that it feeds on.

Updated: 07/09/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Camouflage works well for the caterpillar of the Scarlet-winged Lichen Moth. Its brown speckled coloring matches exactly with the lichen that it feeds on. Lichens are a fungus-algae hybrid, though some are fungus-bacterial hybrids. The fungus captures water, while the algae/bacteria make photosynthetic food. Together, these organisms thrive. Delicate flakes of lichen grow on the trunks of tree, forming a gray-green crust on the bark. Lichens are also commonly seen on old stones walls and boulders. The caterpillar eats away at the lichen until it is ready to pupate.

The red and black adult moth emerges in spring or summer. It can be found in or near woodlands and pine forests. It is mostly nocturnal and attracted to lights. It is similar in appearance to its cousin, the Painted Lichen Moth. The Painted Lichen Moth has thinner orange lines while the Scarlet-winged Lichen Moth has thicker red ones.

General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon
Harmless insect icon
Striped or banded insect icon


Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Erebidae
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          Genus: Hypoprepia
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            Species: miniata
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Hypoprepia miniata
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 15mm to 21mm (0.59" to 0.82")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: red, black
Descriptors: striped, vein, tree, flying, harmless

Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 15mm (0.6in) and 21mm (0.8in)
Lo: 15mm
Md: 18mm
Hi: 21mm
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 Scarlet-winged Lichen 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 Scarlet-winged Lichen Moth. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.


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