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Southern Emerald Moth (Synchlora frondaria)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Southern Emerald Moth

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The Southern Emerald Moth brightens dark nights in the warm, humid South while its caterpillar has a reputation for 'inching' its way across foliage in the daytime.

Updated: 02/07/2024; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
This moth is a type of Geometer Moth, one of the most populated moth families in North America. This particular species is quite common in the southern United States. Adults are a striking, vivid green color with a feathery fringe on the hindwings. A white stripe down the back may be visible if its wings are open. Curvy white lines cross the forewings from left to right, almost like tree rings. Their feathery antennae are also white. Adults prefer woodland forests and are attracted to lights at night, like most moths.

The larval form is popularly called an 'inchworm' because of the way it crawls. These caterpillars are a part of the Measuringworm Moth family. They only have front and back legs that help them walk, so in order to move their long bodies forward, they have to pull both sets of legs close together and then push them apart. This type of caterpillar is popular thanks in part to the iconic children's book 'The Hungry Caterpillar'. If the caterpillar feels threatened, it stiffens itself and stretches its body outward at an angle while clinging to a stem. This posture makes it look like a short, stubby twig on a branch. Caterpillars feed on short, woody plants and blackberry plants.


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General Characteristics

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

Taxonomic Hierarchy

Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Geometridae
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          Genus: Synchlora
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            Species: frondaria

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Synchlora frondaria
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 20mm to 30mm (0.78" to 1.18")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: green; white; yellow; black
Descriptors: flying

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 20mm (0.8in) and 30mm (1.2in)
Lo: 20mm
Md: 25mm
Hi: 30mm

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 Southern Emerald 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 Southern Emerald Moth. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

Similar Insects

Similar insects to the Southern Emerald Moth that are associated with or commonly mistaken for...

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