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Signate Melanolophia (Melanolophia signataria)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Signate Melanolophia

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The pale-colored Signate Melanolophia caterpillar is not a picky eater, allowing this common moth to thrive in all part of its range.

Updated: 01/05/2022; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
The medium-sized Signate Melanolophia Moth may be gray, or a creamy pale brown, but its arrangement of small black dots is consistently helpful in identifying it. A similar-looking relative, the Canadian Melanolophia, has a bit more mottling and more severe curves in the lines across its wings. The two different species are indistinguishable at times. The Signate Melanolophia has two thin brown, only slightly curved lines crossing the forewings. Between these lines, on the outer edge of the wing, sits a single black dot. Just under the lower brown line, on the inner edge by the body is a pair of black smudgy dots. Far beneath the brown line are two more sets of black dots near the wing tips. Hindwings also have brown lines crossing them, but the lower one is too low to form a continuous line across the moth.

The Signate Melanolopia caterpillar feeds on the leaves of a wide variety of common trees. Both deciduous and coniferous trees like alder, birch, maple, oak, elm, tamarack and spruce are host trees. The benefit of such a varied diet means this moth is able to live in many parts of the eastern continent. It also prevents one tree from being taxed too much by larvae, so the moth is not a pest. Skinny, green caterpillars blend in easily among fresh foliage and can stiffen their bodies to resemble a twig.©InsectIdentification.org

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General Characteristics

Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon
Harmless insect icon
Patterned insect icon

Taxonomic Hierarchy

Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Geometridae
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          Genus: Melanolophia
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            Species: signataria

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Melanolophia signataria
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 30mm to 35mm (1.18" to 1.37")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: ivory;, white; black; gray; brown
Descriptors: twin black dots; distal; pepper; cream colored; wide; flying; harmless; tail; tail feathers; mace; anchor; tuft

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 30mm (1.2in) and 35mm (1.4in)
Lo: 30mm
Md: 32.5mm
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 Signate Melanolophia 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 Signate Melanolophia. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.
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