Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Ellida caniplaga (Walker, 1856)
Cymatophora caniplaga Walker, 1856
Edema transversta Walker, 1865
Ellida gelida Grote, 1876
Phylogenetic sequence #
Explanation of Names
The common name refers to the larval host plant, linden (more commonly known as basswood).
Lafontaine & Schmidt (2010) listed as the only species of this genus in America north of Mexico. (1)
Adult: the triple antemedial (AM) line, fading part-way across the wing, is diagnostic.
Larva: color and markings vary depending on age; at mid-stage, head is pale green with a pair of conspicuous black spots on top; body is darker green with wide yellow subdorsal stripes and thinner lateral stripes; subdorsal stripes are joined by yellow cross-stripes on abdominal segments 2-7; in late-stage and full-grown larvae, the head is pinkish and the lateral stripes red; body is yellowish with conspicuous red splotches down the back (adapted from description at Auburn U.)
Eastern North America (Texas to Florida(2)
, north to New Brunswick, west to Ontario and Minnesota).
Deciduous woods and parklands where the host plant grows.
The main flight period appears to be March to August, earlier in Florida. (3)
The larvae are found from summer through fall.
The larvae feed on the leaves of basswood (=linden).
Two generations per year in the south; overwinters as a pupa in the soil; adults emerge in spring and lay eggs on the leaves of the host plant.
The larvae are rarely seen (for many years the description of the caterpillar was not known) because they usually feed high in the canopy of basswood trees; they are most likely to be observed descending the trunk of the tree enroute to their pupation site in the soil.
Color and pattern of adult is superficially similar to a number of other moths:
, plus some species of Lymantriidae in the tribe Orgyiini
Walker, F. 1856. Lepidoptera: Heterocera. List of the Specimens of Lepidopterous Insects in the Collection of the British Museum
. London. 7: 18
of pinned adult (James Adams) and live larvae (Dave Wagner, Dalton State College, Georgia)
live adult images
plus description and other info (Lynn Scott, Ontario)