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Straight-lined Plagodis Moth (Plagodis phlogosaria)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Straight-lined Plagodis Moth

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Image Credit: Carolyn F. from Plain, WI
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Image Credit: T.J.C. from Derry, NH
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The coloring on this month depends on the season it was born in.

Updated: 01/05/2022; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Straight-lined Plagodis moths have a wide center band of color thanks to two lines of dark color that stretch across the wings. One line is curved near the head, but the other is straight and closer to the bottom of the wing. The bottoms of the wings are sculpted with a few gentle curves. Moths that form in the spring are colored differently from moths that form just months later in the summer. The early brood tends to look darker. The area near the head has red or pink tones to the brown hair. The middle band has brown coloring that may be light or dark in tone. The lower part of the wings have purple and black smudges on the inner parts of the wings, almost like they were slightly scorched. The summer form is more yellow and much lighter in color. The head area is yellow, the middle is a paler yellow, and the bottom smudges are still black, but with little if any purple undertones. Even the body is yellow.

The gray-brown caterpillar for this moth feeds on the leaves of all sorts of deciduous trees. It has bumps on it which make it easy to mistake for a small twig. Alder, birch, basswood, black cherry, and chokecherry are common food plants. Look for adults in or near woodlands. Two broods are produced each year.©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: Geometridae
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          Genus: Plagodis
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            Species: phlogosaria

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Plagodis phlogosaria
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 21mm to 33mm (0.82" to 1.29")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown; yellow; pink; purple; orange; tan
Descriptors: three parts; curvy wing; flying; yellow middle; orange center; purple eyespot; bruises

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 21mm (0.8in) and 33mm (1.3in)
Lo: 21mm
Md: 27mm
Hi: 33mm

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 Straight-lined Plagodis 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 Straight-lined Plagodis Moth. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.
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