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Species Hypercompe scribonia - Giant Leopard Moth - Hodges#8146

Giant Leopard Moth - Hypercompe scribonia Giant Leopard Moth Caterpillar - Hypercompe scribonia Giant Leopard Moth - Hypercompe scribonia Giant Leopard Moth - Hodges#8146 - Hypercompe scribonia White Moth, Brown Circles? - Hypercompe scribonia Erebidae: Hypercompe scribonia? - Hypercompe scribonia Giant Leopard Moth - Hypercompe scribonia White spotted moth - Hypercompe scribonia
Show images of: caterpillars · adults · both
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths)
No Taxon (Moths)
Superfamily Noctuoidea
Family Erebidae
Subfamily Arctiinae (Tiger and Lichen Moths)
Tribe Arctiini (Tiger Moths)
Subtribe Spilosomina
Genus Hypercompe
Species scribonia (Giant Leopard Moth - Hodges#8146)
Hodges Number
8146
Other Common Names
Eyed Tiger Moth
Great Leopard Moth
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Hypercompe scribonia (Stoll)
Orig. Comb: Phalaena scribonia Stoll 1790
Syn: Ecpantheria scribonia (Stoll)
Numbers
one of seven species in this genus in North America
Size
wingspan 57-91 mm
larva to about 75 mm (1)
Identification
The caterpillar is mostly black with tufts of stiff black hairs of equal length radiating around its body. Rolls up head to tail when disturbed. When curled, red intersegmental rings are visible between the hairs. Spiracles are orange or red. Early instars also have the hairy tufts, but are colored dark brown and orange.
  
Moth is white with black spots. Many of the spots are hollow rings. Hindwing with black shading along inner margin, and black terminal spots near apex.
  
The abdomen is beautifully marked with blue and orange (below), but the color is not visible when at rest.
  
Range
TX-FL-ME-MN / Ont. / W. Indies - MPG
Season
mostly: Mar-Nov - MPG
Food
larvae feed on a great variety of broad-leaved plants, including banana, cabbage, cherry, dandelion, maple, orange, sunflower, violet, willow
Life Cycle
Spends the winter as a caterpillar (Caterpillars of Eastern Forests(2) says it overwinters August to May - presumably this varies by location). One generation per year in the north; sometimes two generations in the south.
Remarks
Unlike some hairy caterpillars, this one will not sting if handled. Its defense is just to stay rolled up until you go away and leave it alone!
Yellowish droplets of liquid are sometimes seen emitted from the adults when threatened or handled. These droplets are a chemical defense against predators.
See Also
Hypercompe caudata (pinned adult at Moth Photographers Group)
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Leopard Moth (Zeuzera pyrina) forewing has smaller spots, and none are hollow rings.

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The western Hypercompe permaculata is similar but its black spots are more rectangular, and its range apparently does not overlap with H. scribonia.
Print References
Covell, p. 68, plate 16-13 (3)
Wagner, p. 467 (1)
Internet References
live adult and larva images plus common name reference [Great Leopard Moth], description, seasonality, food plants (Texas A&M U.)
pinned adult images of male and female plus live larva images (James Adams, Dalton State College, Georgia)
live larva image plus description, food plants, seasonality, life cycle (David Wagner and Valerie Giles, Caterpillars of Eastern Forests; USGS)
live larva images plus common name references [Giant Leopard Moth, Eyed Tiger Moth] (Emily Earp and Josh Hillman, floridanature.org)
information on rearing plus description, habits, biology, life cycle (Bill Oehlke, silkmoths.bizland.com)
synonyms plus common name reference [Eyed Tiger Moth], links, distribution, references (Markku Savela, FUNET)
classification - Ecpantheria treated as a junior synonym of Hypercompe (Brian Pitkin, Butterflies and Moths of the World)
Heuristron. Images of adults, caterpillars and pupae.
Hilton Pond. Images of adults, caterpillars and pupae.
Works Cited
1.Caterpillars of Eastern North America
David L. Wagner. 2005. Princeton University Press.
2.Caterpillars of Eastern Forests
David L. Wagner, Valerie Giles, Richard C. Reardon, Michael L. McManus. 1998. U.S. Dept of Agriculture, Forest Health Technology Enterprise Team.
3.Peterson Field Guides: Eastern Moths
Charles V. Covell. 1984. Houghton Mifflin Company.