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Woolly Gray Moth (Lycia ypsilon)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Woolly Gray Moth

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Image Credit: Donna C. from Altoona, FL
Full-sized image of the Woolly-Gray-Moth Thumbnail image of the Woolly-Gray-Moth
Image Credit: Adam H., taken in Tampa, FL
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Image Credit: Ted W.
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A white bar across the center of the wings is higher and narrower on the waist of the Woolly Gray's body.

Updated: 03/25/2024; Authored By ; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
The Woolly Gray is a cryptically-colored moth that can be found in woods, forests, and open tracts of land. It is brown with a ribbon of white - with a black line within it - crossing the middle of its wings. The body has a thin band of white nearer the head. Females are wingless and do not fly. This moth blends in effortlessly when resting on tree trunks.

The caterpillar feeds on leaves of a variety of common trees in eastern North America like oak, maple, and apple. It is a skinny larva that is generally brown with dark brown bands and red spots on its sides. It can also be a bright purple color, green with a white cast, or black with yellow side spots. It is a type of inchworm because of the way it moves along branches and twigs. Look for it in early spring and summer. It spends the winter in its pupal case, and emerges as an adult the next spring.©InsectIdentification.org

Known Diet of the Woolly-Gray-Moth

apple; cherry; oak
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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: Lycia
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            Species: ypsilon

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Lycia ypsilon
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 30mm to 35mm (1.18" to 1.37")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown; white; gray
Descriptors: wavy white center band; cryptic coloring; woodland; flying; wingless female; no wings

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 30mm (1.2in) and 35mm (1.4in)
Lo: 30mm
Md: 32.5mm
Hi: 35mm

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 Woolly Gray 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 Woolly Gray Moth. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.
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