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Spotted Peppergrass Moth (Eustixia pupula)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Spotted Peppergrass Moth

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Image Credit: Carolyn F., taken near Plain, WI
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The Spotted Peppergrass Moth shares the colors of salt and pepper, but its name originates from the spicy-flavored greens it uses as a host plant.

Updated: 01/05/2022; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
It may be small, but the Spotted Peppergrass Moth is bright in its own way. Shiny white wings are literally peppered with medium-sized black dots. The bottom of each wing has longer black marks that appear as trios thanks to interruptions by white veins. The face is black as are the labial palps in front, which look like a black ?nose? or ?snout?. Eyes are large and black, bulging out of the side of the head.

Caterpillars feed on peppergrass, a native plant in the mustard family that is grows in many places, but especially in weedy areas. Like dandelions, this plant is often considered a weed in lawns despite being edible. Field pennycress and cabbage are also food plants to caterpillars. Adults begin flying when the weather warms in spring, and they remain active through the summer. Like many moths, they are attracted to lights at night. Look for them in gardens growing cabbage, and in weedy areas and lots where peppergrasses grow.©InsectIdentification.org

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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: Crambidae
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          Genus: Eustixia
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            Species: pupula

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Eustixia pupula
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 8mm to 9mm (0.31" to 0.35")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: white; black
Descriptors: white; black; black spots; black dots; trio of black dots; three dots and dashes; big black eyes; black face; small; flying

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 8mm (0.3in) and 9mm (0.4in)
Lo: 8mm
Md: 8.5mm
Hi: 9mm

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