linden looper

(Erannis tiliaria)

linden looper
Photo by Alfredo Colon
  Hodges #


Conservation Status
  IUCN Red List

not listed


NNR - Unranked

SNR - Unranked


not listed


Linden looper is a medium-sized, late season, typical geometer moth. It occurs in the United States from Maine to northern Georgia, west to Utah and Texas, and in southern Canada from Quebec to Alberta. Since 1994 it has almost disappeared from a large part of New England, and that area is thought to be increasing. It is common in Minnesota.

Adult males fly from late August to early December in the south, in October and November in Minnesota. Adult females are almost wingless and do not fly. Caterpillars feed on the leaves of many shrubs and deciduous trees, including American hornbeam, apple, ash, birch, beech, cherry, elm, hazel, maple, oak, poplar, serviceberry, willow, and as the common name suggests, on basswood. They can cause defoliation when they occur in large numbers.

Adult males have a 1¼ to 1 (32 to 42 mm) wingspan. The forewing length is to 1 (17 to 25 mm).

The top of the head is yellowish-brown to pale brown. The antennae have 37 to 41 segments. Each segment has two pairs of short, squat projections, one pair at the base and another in the middle. Each projection has numerous, long, stiff hairs (setae). The eyes are large, round, and hairless.

The thorax and abdomen are slender.

The forewings are large, broad, almost translucent, and light brown, with dark markings. They are highly variable in both color and markings, but they follow a general pattern. The base color may be pale brown, yellowish-brown, pale salmon-brown, or brown. The antemedial (AM) and postmedial (PM) lines are dark and wavy. They may be thin and well defined, broad and diffuse, or somewhere in between. They may be very dark and distinct or only slightly darker than the background. On some individuals the AM line is not discernible. The discal spot is dark. The wings are peppered with dark scales. The peppering may be heavy, light, or barely discernible. The wings on the female are reduced to minute pads about 164 (0.5 mm) in length.

The hindwings are grayish-white and unmarked except for a small discal spot. They are usually peppered with widely spaced grayish-brown scales.

The legs are brown. There are two pairs of spurs on the fourth segment (tibia) of the hind legs, a single pair of spurs at the tip of the tibia of the middle legs, and no spurs on the tibia of the front legs.

The caterpillar is up to 1316 (3 cm) long and is easily identified. It is brown above with up to ten dark pinstripes. On each side there is a broad, bright yellow stripe through the breathing pores (spiracles). Each spiracle is thinly ringed with black. The head on most individuals is orangish-brown.




Wingspan: 1¼ to 1 (32 to 42 mm)


Similar Species






One generation per year: October and November




Males rest with their wings held flat.


Life Cycle


Eggs overwinter in crevices in tree bark and hatch in the spring.


Larva Food


Leaves of many shrubs and deciduous trees, including American hornbeam, apple, ash, birch, beech, cherry, elm, hazel, maple, oak, poplar, serviceberry, willow, and basswood


Adult Food


Flower nectar


Distribution Map



4, 7, 21, 24, 27, 29, 30, 75, 82, 83.







Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths)  


Geometroidea (geometrid and swallowtail moths)  


Geometridae (geometer moths)  


Ennominae (typical geometers)  







Erannis coloradata

Hybernia tiliaria


Common Names


linden looper

linden looper moth

winter moth










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.



A stiff, hair-like process on the outer surface of an organism. In Lepidoptera: A usually rigid bristle- or hair-like outgrowth used to sense touch. In mosses: The stalk supporting a spore-bearing capsule and supplying it with nutrients. Plural: setae. Adjective: setose.



A small opening on the surface of an insect through which the insect breathes.



The fourth segment of an insect leg, after the femur and before the tarsus (foot). The fifth segment of a spider leg or palp.






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Alfredo Colon

    linden looper   linden looper  
    linden looper      



Erannis tiliaria - Linden Looper Moth
Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren
  Erannis tiliaria - Linden Looper Moth  



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Other Videos
  Linden Looper (Erannis tiliaria)

Jul 25, 2011

  Linden Looper Moth (Geometridae: Erannis tiliaria) Caterpillar
Carl Barrentine

May 27, 2010

Photographed at the Rydell NWR, Minnesota (27 May 2010). Go here to read more anout this species:

  Linden Looper Moth Caterpillar (Geometridae: Erannis tiliaria) Close-up
Carl Barrentine

May 29, 2012

Photographed at the Turtle River State Park, North Dakota (28 May 2012).




Visitor Sightings

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  Alfredo Colon

Location: Woodbury, MN

linden looper  




Created: 8/29/2023

Last Updated:

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