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For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada

Species Alsophila pometaria - Fall Cankerworm - Hodges#6258

geometer caterpillar - Alsophila pometaria Pyralidae? - Alsophila pometaria - male Geometridae: Alsophila pometaria - Alsophila pometaria - male Wingless moth - Alsophila pometaria - female geometrid moth caterpillar - Alsophila pometaria Fall Cankerworm - Alsophila pometaria Unknown Caterpillar - Alsophila pometaria Moth larva? - Alsophila pometaria - female
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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 Alsophilini
Genus Alsophila
Species pometaria (Fall Cankerworm - Hodges#6258)
Hodges Number
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Alsophila pometaria (Harris, 1841)
wingspan of males 26-32 mm (1); females about 9-10 mm long (CBIF)
Males have an even brownish grey forewing with jagged white and dark PM and AM lines, occasionally with a visible dark discal spot. The hindwings are light grey, with a dark discal spot and a faint pale PM line (AEC):

The females are wingless and stout-bodied, with the body banded dark and pale gray (1):

Larvae have 3 pairs of abdominal prolegs (1):
Wooded areas including city parks, ornamental plantations and shelter belts. (AEC)
Fall through early winter
Larvae feed on a large variety of deciduous trees and shrubs, especially elm (Ulmus spp.), ash (Fraxinus spp.), and maple (Acer spp.). (AEC) Other hosts include hackberry, oak, various members of the rose family, walnut, and willow. (1)
Life Cycle
The larvae are often a serious pest of many tree species elsewhere, although it rarely reaches densities high enough to do damage in Alberta. The eggs are laid in clusters on tree branches and trunks by the wingless females and hatch the following spring, synchronized with the flush of leaves. There are four larval stages, which are described in detail by McGuffin (1988). Larvae pupate in the soil and delay their emergence until fall, spending about four summer months as a pupa. Females in at least some populations are able to reproduce parthenogenetically (without mating). (McGuffin 1988). (AEC)
Adult pairs:
See Also
Adult female winter moth (Operophtera brumata) and linden looper (Erannis tiliaria, both Geometridae) are also wingless and look similar to female fall cankerworms.
Spring Cankerworm - Paleacrita vernata
Print References
Covell, p. 345; plate 47 #8 (1)
Internet References
Alberta Entomology Collection - Image of pinned adult and bio info
Moth Photographers Group - Images of live adultds
Moths of Maryland - Images of live adults
All-Leps - Images of pinned adults & map of sample collection points
CBIF - Images of male & female pinned adults
Works Cited
1.Peterson Field Guides: Eastern Moths
Charles V. Covell. 1984. Houghton Mifflin Company.