speckled green fruitworm moth

(Orthosia hibisci)

speckled green fruitworm moth
Photo by Alfredo Colon
  Hodges #

10495

 
 
Conservation Status
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

NNR - Unranked

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
 
Description
 
 

Speckled green fruitworm moth is an early season, medium-sized owlet moth. It occurs throughout the United States and southern Canada. It has been reported in every state except Florida. It is common in Minnesota. Adults are found from late March to late May in deciduous woodlands and forests, parks, and fruit orchards. It is one of the first adult moths to emerge in the spring. Mature larvae (caterpillars) are active from late March to late May on the early growth of a wide variety of deciduous trees and shrubs, including alder, apple, ash, autumn olive, cherry, chokecherry, crabapple, elm, gooseberry, hickory, maple, oak, plum, poplar, and willow. It has also been found on spruce.

Adults are ¾ to (20 to 23 mm) long and have a wingspan of 1¼ to 1 (32 to 42 mm).

The forewing is grayish-brown with distinct lines and spots and little to a moderate amount of brown or reddish-brown mottling. They are sparsely to moderately peppered with dark scales. There is a circular spot in the median area (orbicular spot) and a kidney-shaped spot at the end of the discal cell (reniform spot). Both spots are large, bordered with white, and the same color as the ground in the center. The reniform spot has a conspicuous black spot in the inner half. There is no wedge-shaped spot near the inner margin (claviform spot). There are several dark wavy lines, including the basal line in the basal area; the antemedial (AM) line between the basal and median areas; the median line which passes through the median area; the postmedial (PM) line that separates the median area from the postmedial area; the terminal line at the outer margin; and the subterminal (ST) line, between the PM line and the terminal line. The basal line is reddish-brown but is usually covered by the a tuft of hairs on the top of the thorax. The AM line is reddish-brown and broadly curved downward. It is sometimes indistinct or even absent. The median line is broad, dark in the center, and diffuse on the edges. It is strongly curved downward in the middle into the reniform spot and upward approaching the inner and leading (costal) margin. The PM line is scalloped and consists of a series of dark dots. The ST line is conspicuous, thin, pale, and slightly curved downward in the middle. The terminal line consists of a line of black dots, one at the end of each cell. The fringe is dark.

The hindwings are grayish-brown with a dark discal spot. They are sparsely to moderately peppered with dark scales. The fringe is pale.

The head and thorax are the same color as the forewings. On the upper side of the thorax there is a tuft of hairs that is variably light, dark, or light grading to dark. The antennae are threadlike on both the male and the female.

Late stage (instar) caterpillars are 13 16 to 19 16 long and light green or bluish-green. They have abundant creamy-white speckling; a broad, white, continuous, longitudinal stripe down the middle (middorsal stripe) bordered with thin, medium green lines; and a thin, broken, white line in the subdorsal area on each side. The breathing pores (spiracles) are pale with very thin black rims. A conspicuous white line runs above the spiracles on the first through seventh abdominal segments (A1 through A7) and below the spiracles on A8 and the first segment of the thorax (T1). The head is pale green and unmarked except for a pale crescent running through each eye.

 
     
 

Size

 
 

Total Length: ¾ to (20 to 23 mm)

Wingspan: 1¼ to 1 (32 to 42 mm)

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
     
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Deciduous forests and woodlands, parks, fruit orchards

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Season

 
 

One generation per year: late March to late May

 
     
 

Behavior

 
 

Adults are active at night and will come to lights.

 
     
 

Life Cycle

 
 

Pupa overwinter

 
     
 

Larva Hosts

 
 

Early growth of a wide variety of deciduous trees and shrubs, including alder, apple, ash, autumn olive, cherry, chokecherry, crabapple, elm, gooseberry, hickory, maple, oak, plum, poplar, and willow. It has also been found on spruce.

 
     
 

Adult Food

 
 

 

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

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

 
  12/16/2019      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Widespread and abundant

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
 

Order

Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths)  
 

Suborder

Glossata  
 

Infraorder

Neolepidoptera  
  Parvorder Heteroneura  
  No Rank Ditrysia  
  No Rank Obtectomera  
 

Superfamily

Noctuoidea (noctuid moths)  
 

Family

Noctuidae (owlet moths)  
 

Subfamily

Noctuinae (cutworms or dart moths)  
 

Tribe

Orthosiini  
 

Genus

Orthosia  
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

 

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

green fruitworm

speckled green fruitworm (caterpillar)

speckled green fruitworm moth (adult)

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Antemedial (AM) line

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

 

Costal margin

The leading edge of the forewing of insects.

 

Instar

The developmental stage of arthropods between each molt; in insects, the developmental stage of the larvae or nymph.

 

Orbicular spot

A circular spot or outline in the outer median area near the antemedial line on the forewing of many moths.

 

Postmedial (PM) line

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

 

Reniform spot

A kidney-shaped spot or outline in the outer median area near the postmedial line on the forewing of many moths.

 

Spiracle

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

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
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Alfredo Colon

 
    speckled green fruitworm moth      
           
 
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Other Videos
 
  Speckled Green Fruitworm Moth (Noctuidae: Orthosia hibisci)
Carl Barrentine
 
   
 
About

Apr 18, 2011

Photographed at Fisher, Minnesota (18 April 2011). Go here to learn more about this species: http://tfrec.cahnrs.wsu.edu/

 
  Speckled Green Fruitworm Moth (Noctuidae: Orthosia hibisci)
Carl Barrentine
 
   
 
About

May 1, 2010

Photographed at Grand Forks, North Dakota (30 April 2010).

 
  Speckled Green Fruit-worm ~ Orthosia hibisci (Guenée)
Augmuse
 
   
 
About

Jun 2, 2014

Life history

There is one generation per year. The speckled green fruit-worm overwinters as a pupa in the soil. Adults emerge from March to May and lay eggs on tree leaves. Larvae begin to hatch in April and climb to the tips of limbs and spurs where they feed and grow. They prefer fruiting spurs and often conceal themselves by webbing the leaves together with silk. They feed at first on buds, then later on flowers, leaves and fruit. In summer, mature larvae drop to the ground and burrow into the soil to pupate.

Life stages

Speckled green fruitworm larva (F. Howell)

Egg: The egg is pale gray when first laid. It is spherical with a flat base where it is cemented to the plant. It has 40 to 48 ribs and is 1/30 inch (0.8 mm) in diameter. After a day or two, purple blotches appear around the micropyle and the shoulder.

Larva: The larva develops through six instars and measures between 1 and 1-2/3 inches (25 to 41 mm) long when mature. It is green with five white stripes the length of the body (Figure 63). The head is brown at first but gradually turns green.

Adult: The adult is a nondescript, reddish-brown moth about 3/4 inch (19 mm) long.

 
       

 

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  Alfredo Colon
Summer 2018

Location: Woodbury, Minnesota

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Created: 12/16/2019

Last Updated:

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