common tan wave

(Pleuroprucha insulsaria)

common tan wave
Photo by Alfredo Colon
  Hodges #

7132

 
 
Conservation Status
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

NNR - Unranked

SNR - Unranked

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
 
Description
 
 

Common tan wave is a small, short-lived, geometer moth. It occurs in North, Central, and South America. In the United States it occurs in the Great Plains and in every state east of the Great Plains. It is common in the eastern half of the United States, less common in the eastern half of Minnesota, where it nears the western limit of its range. It is found from early June to early September in agricultural fields, field edges, deciduous woodlands, and forest openings. It is a minor agricultural pest of corn but causes little damage.

Adults are ¼ (7.0 to 7.5 mm) long and slender. They have relative large wings, with a wingspan of 916 to 1316 (14 to 21 mm). The forewings and hindwings are similar: triangular, mottled, and pale yellowish-brown with a faint, almost imperceptible greenish tinge. The outer edges are slightly scalloped. There is a dark antemedial line (AM line) with three black dots; a dark postmedial line (PM line); and a thin, white, scalloped, submarginal line with a broader, dark, inner border and a dark reddish-brown dot on each vein. On some individuals all of the lines are distinct. On others the AM and subterminal lines may be barely discernible. There is no discal spot. The fringe is very long.

The antennae on the female are thread-like (filiform). The lower half of the antennae on the male are feather-like with branches on one side only (pectinate).

The mature larvae (caterpillar) is about (1.5 cm.) long and highly variable in appearance. It may be yellow, green, gray, or brown, and it has white and brown markings. The hardened plate (prothoracic shield) on the upper side of the first segment of the thorax (T1) often has a pale, thin stripe in the middle (middorsal stripe) and broader subdorsal stripes. When viewed from above T2 and T3 are noticeably swollen. On the thorax and abdomen there is a well-developed middorsal stripe and a white stripe through the row of breathing pores (spiracular stripe). On the first five abdominal segments there is often a large, dark chevron with a pale rear (posterior) margin on each side of the middorsal stripe. The are only two pairs of fleshy, leg-like structures (prolegs), one pair each on the sixth and last abdominal segments.

 
     
 

Size

 
 

Total Length: ¼ (7.0 to 7.5 mm)

Wingspan: 916 to 1316 (14 to 21 mm)

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
     
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Agricultural fields, field edges, deciduous woodlands, and forest openings.

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Season

 
 

Three generations. Early June to early September.

 
     
 

Behavior

 
 

Caterpillars feed during the day and often hang from a short thread at night, possibly to escape predators.

Adults are active at night and will come to light. They spend the day on the underside of a leaf and will fly if disturbed. They rest with wings spread out and flattened to the leaf surface.

 
     
 

Life Cycle

 
 

 

 
     
 

Larva Hosts

 
 

Mostly fresh corn silk. When that is not available, also trees and low plants, including bittersweet, bedstraw, goldenrod, oak, willow, sumac, aster, joe pye weed, and other plants

 
     
 

Adult Food

 
 

Pupa overwinter. Adults are short-lived, lasting an average of just 6.4 days.

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

21, 24, 29, 30, 71, 72, 75, 82.

 
  5/23/2020      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Common in eastern U.S., less common in Minnesota

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
 

Order

Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths)  
 

Suborder

Glossata  
 

Infraorder

Neolepidoptera  
  Parvorder Heteroneura  
  No Rank Ditrysia  
  No Rank Obtectomera  
 

Superfamily

Geometroidea (inchworm moths)  
 

Family

Geometridae (geometer moths)  
 

Subfamily

Sterrhinae (waves and mochas)  
 

Tribe

Cosymbiini  
 

Genus

Pleuroprucha  
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

 

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

common tan wave

common tan wave moth

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Antemedial (AM) line

A thin line separating the basal area and the median area of the forewing of Lepidoptera.

 

Postmedial (PM) line

A thin line separating the median area and the postmedial area of the forewing of Lepidoptera.

 

Proleg

A fleshy structure on the abdomen of some insect larvae that functions as a leg, but lacks the five segments of a true insect leg.

 

Prothoracic shield

The hardened plate on the dorsal surface of the first segment of the thorax.

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
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Alfredo Colon

 
    common tan wave      
           
 
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  Alfredo Colon
9/3 to 9/5/2019

Location: Woodbury, Minnesota

common tan wave  
           
 
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Created: 5/23/2020

Last Updated:

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