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Identification: Extremely ragged wing edges. Geographically variable. Upperside is reddish brown with wide dark borders; hindwing border contains yellow spots. Underside is brown, outer half lighter; submarginal spots are greenish; hindwing with L- or C-shaped silver spot in center.
Wing Span: 1 3/4 - 2 1/2 inches (4.5 - 6.4 cm).
Life History: In late afternoon, males perch on rocks or plants in gullies to wait for females. Eggs are laid singly on upper surface of host leaves, which caterpillars eat. Caterpillars are solitary and rest on the underside of leaves. Adults hibernate and mate the following spring.
Flight: One brood from May-August.
Caterpillar Hosts: Small pussy willow (Salix humilis), black birch (Betula lenta), alder (Alnus), western azalea (Rhododendron occidentale), and gooseberry (Ribes).
Adult Food: Flower nectar, dung, carrion.
Habitat: Forests, mountain streamsides, canyons.
Range: Boreal North America south of the tundra. Central Alaska south to central California and northern New Mexico; east across southern Canada and the Great Lakes region to New England and the Maritimes. A separate population occurs in the southern Appalachians.
Conservation: Not usually required.
NCGR: G5 - Demonstrably secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.
Management Needs: None reported.
National Moth Week was July 23-31, 2022!
Moths are amazing creatures. Take photographs and share your moth sightings with us to document the moths where you live. Learn more.