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Species Biston betularia - Pepper & Salt Geometer - Hodges#6640

Pepper & Salt Geometer - Biston betularia Cleft-headed Looper - Biston betularia Pepper & Salt Geometer - Biston betularia  Pepper & Salt Geometer - Hodges#6640 - Biston betularia Cleft-Headed Looper, 22 days after collection - Biston betularia Pepper and Salt Geometer - Biston betularia Pepper & Salt Geometer - Hodges#6640 - Biston betularia Biston betularia  - Biston betularia
Show images of: caterpillars · adults · both
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths)
Superfamily Geometroidea (Geometrid and Swallowtail Moths)
Family Geometridae (Geometrid Moths)
Subfamily Ennominae
Tribe Bistonini
Genus Biston
Species betularia (Pepper & Salt Geometer - Hodges#6640)
Hodges Number
6640
Other Common Names
Peppered Moth (in Eurasia)
Cleft-headed Looper (larva)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Biston betularia (Linnaeus, 1758)
Phalaena betularia Linnaeus, 1758
Amphidasys betularia
* phylogenetic sequence #196200
Explanation of Names
Specific epithet betularia from the birch genus, Betula, one of the larval host plants. (1)
Size
Wingspan up to 48 mm.
Larvae up to 70 mm.
Identification
Adult - color of forewing and hindwing varies from pale gray to dark blackish brown with wavy black lines and heavy speckling of dark gray spots.
Larva: a long slender twig mimic - usually greenish (immature) or grayish (mature) body with depression between pointed lobes of head, and tiny speckles on dorsal surface of body; head reddish-brown; thoracic legs yellowish-brown; tubercles present on prothorax and abdomen.
Range
Holarctic: coast-to-coast in North America and temperate Eurasia.
CA to WA and higher elevations in the Rocky Mtn states, s. Appalachians to ME & MN, BC to NL. (2)
Habitat
Forests, woodlots, parks.
Season
Adults mostly fly April to September. (2) Larvae present July to November.
Food
Larvae feed on a variety of trees and shrubs (alder, birch, blueberry, cherry, currant, dogwood, elm, ginkgo, hackberry, larch, maple, poplar, redroot, soapberry, strawberry, sweet fern, tamarack, walnut, white pine, willow).
Life Cycle
Usually one generation per year (partial second generation in some areas); overwinters as pupa in soil or under leaf litter.
Remarks
Often cited as an example of industrial melanism in England (see Internet References for articles and sample photos).
Print References
Rindge, F.H. 1975. A revision of the New World Bistonini, (Lepidoptera, Geometridae). Bulletin of the AMNH 156, article 2. (3)
Internet References
live adult images of light and dark forms, plus discussion on industrial melanism (John Kimball, Massachusetts)
live adult images (Lynn Scott, Ontario)
adult images and other info (Larry Line, Maryland)
pinned adult images of light and dark forms (CBIF)
pinned adult image (Insects of Quebec)
live larva image plus description, biology, common name reference for larva [Cleft-headed Looper] and other info (forestpests.org)
live larva image - immature stage (Tony Thomas, New Brunswick)
live larva image - mature stage (Tony Thomas, New Brunswick)
Works Cited
1.An accentuated list of the British Lepidoptera, with hints on the derivation of the names.
Anonymous. 1858. The Entomological Societies of Oxford and Cambridge.
2.North American Moth Photographers Group
3.A revision of the New World Bistonini, (Lepidoptera, Geometridae).
Frederick H. Rindge. 1975. American Museum of Natural History 156(2):.