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White-blotched Heterocampa (Heterocampa umbrata)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the White-blotched Heterocampa



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Image Credit: Alex -icycatelf- Bowen
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Image Credit: Bethany F. from Topsham, ME
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Image Credit: Jeremy B. from NY
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The bright and unusual colors of the caterpillar of the White-blotched Heterocampa are in stark contrast to the black-and-white adult moth.



Updated: 07/15/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
White-blotched Heterocampas are mostly black and white with shades of gray and perhaps even hues of green. They are woodland moths and common in the eastern half of the continent. Their caterpillars change colors as they mature and develop. At any given stage, a caterpillar could be purple and fuchsia, or brown and tan, or green and white. Mistaking its variations for three different species is easy to do. Caterpillars feed on the leaves of oak trees though not in such abundance as to be considered a pest.

White-blotched Heterocampa moths are nocturnal and are attracted to lights. Look for them in areas where oak trees grow like parks, forests, gardens, and backyards.




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




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Notodontidae
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          Genus: Heterocampa
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            Species: umbrata
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Heterocampa umbrata
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 23mm to 62mm (0.90" to 2.44")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: white, black, gray, purple, pink
Descriptors: caterpillar, flying
Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 23mm (0.9in) and 62mm (2.4in)
Lo: 23mm
Md: 42.5mm
Hi: 62mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
State of Alabama graphic
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Canadian territory of New Brunswick graphic
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Canadian territory of Saskatchewan graphic
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 White-blotched Heterocampa 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 White-blotched Heterocampa. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

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