Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada

Species Tetracis cervinaria - Hodges#6956

Leaf Bug - Tetracis cervinaria Leaf Bug - Tetracis cervinaria Synaxis cervinaria - Tetracis cervinaria Moth - Tetracis cervinaria Tetracis cervinaria Moth - Tetracis cervinaria Tetracis cervinaria Deer-colored Slant-Line - Tetracis cervinaria
Show images of: caterpillars · adults · both
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 Ourapterygini
Genus Tetracis (Slant-Lines)
Species cervinaria (Tetracis cervinaria - Hodges#6956)
Hodges Number
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Metanema cervinaria Packard, 1871
Synaxis cervinaria McDunnough, 1938
The genus Synaxis is synonymized with Tetracis, Ferris and Schmidt, 2010
Explanation of Names
CERVINARIA: perhaps from the Latin "cervinus", from "cervus" (a deer), although I can't guess what association the moth has with a deer or the deer family; any ideas appreciated
one of 13 species in this genus in North America
forewing length 19–23 mm
Adult - DFW apex strongly falcate; males tawny or cinnamon-tan with narrow pale ochre AM and PM lines with or without dark edging, PM line nearly straight, MB frequently darker; females often orange or cinnamon-rufous with well defined brown or brownish-orange AM and PM lines with usually darker MB. DHW with nearly straight median line duplicating color of PM line, in some examples there is a distal indistinct convex dark satellite line originating from the top to the middle of the median line; small FW and HW discal dots are present. Ventrally the dorsal markings are repeated to some degree depending upon individual specimens; there is also a widely distributed speckling by dark scales
Larva: a twig mimic; body light green to greenish-brown; dorsal hump on second thoracic segment; small dorsal wart on abdominal segments four and eight

Specimens identified by DNA analysis:
British Columbia south to Kern Co., California and eastward to western Montana, SE Idaho, Carbon Co., Wyoming, and Larimer Co., Colorado, from 2600–7800’ (790-2375m)
Adults fly as early as February into June, with female stragglers into mid-July
two confirmed hosts in northern California for cervinaria are Prunus emarginata and P. virginiana, Ferris and Schmidt, 2010. Older information indicates larvae may also feed on leaves of alder, Bitterbrush (Purshia tridentata), cascara, Ceanothus species, Madrone (Arbutus menziesii), manzanita (Arctostaphylos spp.), willow
Life Cycle
one generation per year; overwinters as an egg
See Also
S. jubararia and pallulata are similar but have sparsely speckled forewings, a sinuous PM line, and fly in late summer and fall
Prochoerodes forficaria has less pointed wings, a sharp angle in the PM line near the forewing costa, and veins are not noticeably paler than ground color

The nearly straight PM line, typically fawn color, and early-season flight period (February–June; stragglers to mid-July) separate cervinaria from its congeners except australis. Genitalic characters and geography (widely distributed in western North American, but not in coastal southern California) separate cervinaria from australis.
Internet References
presence in California; list (U. of California at Berkeley)
presence in Utah; list (Joel Johnson, Utah Lepidopterists Society)
pinned adult images of three specimens, showing color variation (CBIF)