geometer moth

(Xanthotype spp.)

crocus geometer moth (Xanthotype sp.)
Photo by Greg Watson

Xanthotype is a genus of medium-sized geometer moths. There are five species of Xanthotype, all occurring only in North America. Two species occur in Minnesota. They are found in mixed and deciduous forests. Larvae feed on many trees, shrubs, and forbs, including poison ivy. Adults are active during the day but will also come to lights at night.


Adults are pale yellow or bright yellow with numerous pinkish- or purplish-brown spots. The background color and density of spotting is variable. Some individuals have just a few large dark spots on a pale yellow background, others are heavily spotted on a dark yellow background. Unfortunately, this does not help to identify the species.

A study (Rindge, 1978) of 1,886 specimens concluded that there is no reliable way to distinguish species within this genus except by genital dissection, a procedure not ordinarily performed in the field. “The adults of all species in this genus are, for practical purposes, externally indistinguishable from one another, as they are almost identical in color, maculation, and size.”


Distribution Map



4, 21, 24, 27, 29, 30, 71, 75, 82.



Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths)  


Geometroidea (geometrid and swallowtail moths)  


Geometridae (geometer moths)  





The genus Xanthotype was assigned to the tribe Angeronini in 1983. Four analyses published between 2015 and 2019 suggest that Angeronini should be considered a junior synonym of Gnophini. This recommendation has not been widely followed. One source that does follow it is iNaturalist.


Subordinate Taxa


crocus geometer (Xanthotype sospeta)

false crocus geometer moth (Xanthotype urticaria)

geometer moth (Xanthotype attenuaria)

rufus geometer moth (Xanthotype rufaria)






Common Names


crocus geometer moth

false crocus geometer moth














Visitor Photos

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Greg Watson

    crocus geometer moth (Xanthotype sp.)      

Kristi Wicklund

    crocus geometer moth (Xanthotype sp.)      

Tom Baker

    crocus geometer moth (Xanthotype sp.)      








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Other Videos
  Part 10: Common Typical Geometer Moths (Family Geometridae)
Carl Barrentine

Published on Jan 23, 2013

A visual introduction to thirty-six species of Typical Geometer Moths (Family Geometridae, Subfamily Ennominae). These include the following thirty-one genera: Alsophila, Speranza, Macaria, Digrammia, Iridopsis, Anavitrinella, Protoboarmia, Melanolophia, Biston, Hypagyrtis, Phigalia, Paleacrita, Erannis, Cabera, Euchlaena, Xanthotype, Pero, Campaea, Ennomos, Metanema, Probole, Plagodis, Caripeta, Nepytia, Sicya, Eusarca, Tetracis, Eugonobapta, Eutrapela, Prochoerodes, and Nematocampa. Specimens shown here were photographed in North Dakota and Minnesota during 2010-12. This short educational film was made in Grand Forks, North Dakota (23 January 2013).

  Crocus or False Crocus Geometer Moth (Xanthotype) Male on Wall
Carl Barrentine

Uploaded on Aug 6, 2011

Photographed at Red Wing, Minnesota (04 August 2011).




Visitor Sightings

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  Greg Watson

Location: La Crescent, MN

crocus geometer moth (Xanthotype sp.)  
  Kristi Wicklund

Location: south Central Ottertail County Minnesota. Inspiration Peak area.

crocus geometer moth (Xanthotype sp.)  






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