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White Flannel Moth (Norape ovina)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the White Flannel Moth

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The satiny White Flannel Moth looks soft to the touch, but its colorful caterpillar is a hands-off kind of critter.

Updated: 07/15/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Completely white in color, the sheen on the forewings of the White Flannel Moth can induce one to pet it. Some individuals may have yellow veins on the outer wing or near the body. A frilly, white thorax is covered in fine hairs that stick out in all directions. Antennae are wide, flat, and orange or flesh-colored in males. The eyes, face, and part of the underside are black, and the top of the body is white. The wings are usually held shut and have a curved angle at the bottom edge.

Hairs on the yellow, black, and red caterpillar sting, so it should not be handled. Yellow dots on the black 'back' of the caterpillar have centers made of short, white hairs. Yellow hairs stick out from the sides of the body, so there is no safe place to touch it. The colors are bright and naturally alarming to help minimize temptation. Locust, hackberry, and redbud trees are common hosts for this larva.

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


Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Megalopygidae
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          Genus: Norape
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            Species: ovina
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Norape ovina
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 11mm to 17mm (0.43" to 0.66")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: white; orange
Descriptors: wispy; white hairs; fluffy; frizzy; white; orange antennae; satin; flying

Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 11mm (0.4in) and 17mm (0.7in)
Lo: 11mm
Md: 14mm
Hi: 17mm
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
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the White Flannel 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 White Flannel Moth. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.


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