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Speckled Green Fruitworm Moth (Orthosia hibisci)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Speckled Green Fruitworm Moth

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The color and pattern variation on the Speckled Green Fruitworm Moth is prodigious considering they all look the same when they are caterpillars.

Updated: 07/15/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
As its name suggests, the caterpillar of this moth is covered in speckles, white ones in fact. The rest of the body is green, and its head looks like it is made of jade. A prominent white line runs the length of the caterpillar's 'spine'. Each side also has white lines from head to rear. The leaves of a variety of woody plants and trees are tasty meals for the Speckled Green Fruitworm. They are often found on apple, cherry, crabapple, and plums trees. They also use elm, hickory, poplar, spruce, and willow trees. This species is often parasitized, becoming an important food source themselves.

Adult moths are mainly brown. One variation is quite plain with a furry pale thorax. Others may be golden brown or dark brown with dark speckles all over and have two large spots on each forewing. The upper spot is round, and the lower spot is more oblong is shape, like a bean, and has a dark spot inside it. The space between these two spots is generally a darker brown than the surrounding area. Many have a single black spot on each wing near the hairy thorax. A thin white line near the bottom of the wings may or may not be visible, or it may look broken. These moths are commonly found on the eastern part of the continent in all their different forms. They are most active as adults in spring. Caterpillars hatch and gorge on leaves, moving underground by early summer and stay in the pupal stage there until the next year.

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


Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Noctuidae
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          Genus: Orthosia
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            Species: hibisci
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Orthosia hibisci
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 20mm to 23mm (0.78" to 0.90")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown, purple, black
Descriptors: freckles, two spots, bean-shaped, speckles, flying, shimmer

Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 20mm (0.8in) and 23mm (0.9in)
Lo: 20mm
Md: 21.5mm
Hi: 23mm
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 Speckled Green Fruitworm 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 Speckled Green Fruitworm Moth. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.


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