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Tulip-tree Beauty Moth (Epimecis hortaria)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Tulip-tree Beauty Moth



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The varied browns on the Tulip-tree Beauty Moth gives it camouflage on more than just tulip trees.



Updated: 07/24/2020; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
The brown and ivory coloring on this moth make it almost impossible to see when it is resting on tree bark. Its wings remain completely flat so it has a low profile. The zigzag patterns and scalloped edges blend in with the variations on a trunk. Though fond of tulip trees, this species' caterpillar also feeds on the leaves of yellow poplar, paw-paw, red bay, and sassafras trees. Adults are active from mid-spring through the summer and into early autumn in some regions. They are attracted to lights.

The caterpillar is pale brown on top and whitish on bottom. Dark lines and spots decorate its dorsal side (back). Thin yellow rings around segments are sometimes visible. The head color ranges from bright yellow to muted brown with speckles. In the mid 1930's, the Tulip-Tree Beauty caterpillar ate the leaves off a majority of the sassafras trees growing in Connecticut. Damage on that scale has not been seen in these days.




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




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Geometridae
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          Genus: Epimecis
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            Species: hortaria
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Epimecis hortaria
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 38mm to 50mm (1.49" to 1.96")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown, ivory, white
Descriptors: zigzag, large, scalloped, flying, tree pest
Relative Size Comparison
Typical Range Between 38mm and 50mm
Lo: 38mm
Md: 44mm
Hi: 50mm
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 Tulip-tree Beauty 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 Tulip-tree Beauty Moth. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

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