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Species Phyllodesma americana - American Lappet Moth - Hodges#7687

7687– Phyllodesma americana– Lappet - Phyllodesma americana Lasiocampidae: Phyllodesma americana? - Phyllodesma americana Lasiocampidae: Phyllodesma americana - Phyllodesma americana caterpillar on aspen - Phyllodesma americana American Lappet Moth - Phyllodesma americana orange and white moth - Phyllodesma americana Small flat reddish-brown moth - Phyllodesma americana caterpillar parasitized - Phyllodesma americana
Show images of: caterpillars · adults · both
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths)
Superfamily Lasiocampoidea (Tent Caterpillar and Lappet Moths)
Family Lasiocampidae (Tent Caterpillar and Lappet Moths)
Subfamily Lasiocampinae
Tribe Gastropachini
Genus Phyllodesma
Species americana (American Lappet Moth - Hodges#7687)
Hodges Number
Other Common Names
American Lappet Moth
Fill o desma - contributed by Tony Thomas
Is it pronounced fill-OH-dez-ma or fill-oh-DEZ-ma? (I once thought the flower fly Eristalis was pronounced air-iss-TAL-iss until I heard it pronounced ih-RISS-tah-liss by an entomologist) -contributed by Robin McLeod
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Phyllodesma americana – (Harris, 1841)
* phylogenetic sequence #223725
Epicnaptera americana(1)

a few subspecies are recognized Phyllodesma americana arizonensis
Explanation of Names
PHYLLODESMA: from the Greek "phyllon" (a leaf) + "desma" (a band); refers to the leaf-mimicing shape of the wings, and perhaps the pale bands on the forewing and hindwing
one of three species in this genus in North America
wingspan 29 to 49 mm (2)
Adult: scalloped outer margins of wings with white in the scallops. Resting posture with forewings held tent-like over abdomen, and hindwings sticking out horizontally is characteristic. Forewing color varies from bluish-gray to reddish to yellowish-brown; markings white and violet; anal angle with deep notch. When sitting on dead leaves, it is well camouflaged.

Larva: body with blue, black/gray, white, and orange on the back, and densely hairy lobes (lappets) along sides; top of eighth abdominal segment with unpaired hump; when stretched out or alarmed, exposes bright orange band across top of second and third thoracic segments
Nova Scotia to Georgia, west through Texas to California, north to BC and Yukon
Flight season March to September in two broods in the south; April to August in Ohio; May to July in eastern Ontario
larva present June to August
Caterpillars feed on leaves of alder, birch, oak, poplar, willow, snowbrush (Ceanothus velutinus), chinquapin (Chrysolepis chrysophylla), and members of the rose family; larvae rest longitudinally along a twig during the day, and feed at night
Life Cycle
two generations per year in the south, one in the north; overwinters as a pupa
eggs; eggs; newly emerged larva; 2 week old larva; larva; larva; cocoon; adult; adult
Covell reports it as rare to locally common; frequents city gardens among other places.(2)
See Also

Phyllodesma occidentis with a white reniform spot on the forwing, and ranges from coastal South Carolina to Florida, west to Kentucky and Texas.

P. coturnix forewing has bluish-gray shading in subterminal area, and occurs in California.

*(for California specimens) "Need Genitalia or DNA. Two species, Phyllodesma americana and P. coturnix are sympatric in California and cannot, according to Powell & Opler(3), be distinguished by superficial characters." [comment by Bob Patterson]
Print References
Powell, J. A. & P. A. Opler, Moths of Western North America, p. 234, pl. 38.6.(3)
Covell, Charles V. Jr., Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America; p. 54.(2)
Internet References
Moth Photographers Group - range map, photos of living and pinned adults.
BOLD - Barcode of Life Data Systems - species account with collection map and photos of pinned adults.
live larva and adult images plus description and habits (Jeremy Tatum, Butterflies and Moths of Southern Vancouver Island)
Works Cited
1.Eastern Forest Insects
Whiteford L. Baker. 1972. U.S. Department of Agriculture · Forest Service.
2.Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America
Charles V. Covell, Jr. 2005.
3.Moths of Western North America
Powell and Opler. 2009. UC Press.