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The Badwing (Dyspteris abortivaria)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the The Badwing



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Image Credit: Alex -icycatelf-Bowen
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Long, lean, and green, The Badwing is an innocent, woodland-dwelling moth that prefers vines to trees.



Updated: 07/15/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
The Badwing is the only North American representative in its genus. The forewings are much longer than the hindwings, more than twice the normal size. These smaller hindwings proved difficult for entomologists and collectors to spread out and pin into a display, so they began referring to them as 'bad wings'. The striking green moth has a green abdomen and antennae, making it an attractive specimen to showcase. In nature, however, they are readily camouflaged by their coloring and dwell near forested areas where they may be safely hidden from most predators.

The long, green forewings end in a very slight curve, creating a slight tip at the ends. Two straight, thin, white lines cross the wings when open flat; one near the head, the other past the center of the body. A small white dot sits near the edge of each forewing between the two white lines. Adults are active from mid-spring through late summer and are not known to feed, spending all their energy trying to find a mate and reproduce instead. The caterpillar is slender and pale yellow-green. It feeds on grapevines and Virginia creeper. Two broods are produced each year. Look for adults near woodland borders among the vines their larvae feed on.




General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon
Striped or banded insect icon




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Geometridae
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          Genus: Dyspteris
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            Species: abortivaria
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Dyspteris abortivaria
Other Name(s): The Bad-wing
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 20mm to 29mm (0.78" to 1.14")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: green, white
Descriptors: wide, narrow, emerald, line, flying
Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 20mm (0.8in) and 29mm (1.1in)
Lo: 20mm
Md: 24.5mm
Hi: 29mm
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
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the The Badwing 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 The Badwing. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

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