Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
Clickable Guide
Moths Butterflies Flies Caterpillars Flies Dragonflies Flies Mantids Cockroaches Bees and Wasps Walkingsticks Earwigs Ants Termites Hoppers and Kin Hoppers and Kin Beetles True Bugs Fleas Grasshoppers and Kin Ticks Spiders Scorpions Centipedes Millipedes

Upcoming Events

See Moth submissions from National Moth Week 2023

Photos of insects and people from the 2022 BugGuide gathering in New Mexico, July 20-24

Photos of insects and people from the Spring 2021 gathering in Louisiana, April 28-May 2

Photos of insects and people from the 2019 gathering in Louisiana, July 25-27

Photos of insects and people from the 2018 gathering in Virginia, July 27-29

Photos of insects and people from the 2015 gathering in Wisconsin, July 10-12

Previous events


Species Gnophaela vermiculata - Police Car Moth - Hodges#8037

Moth - Gnophaela vermiculata Moth - Gnophaela vermiculata - male Caterpillar ID - Gnophaela vermiculata Hairy black caterpillars with yellow and blue markings and red head - Gnophaela vermiculata Gnophaela vermiculata - male Gnophaela vermiculata Gnophalea, Police Car Moth, but which species? - Gnophaela vermiculata - male Unknown - Gnophaela vermiculata - male
Show images of: caterpillars · adults · both
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths)
Superfamily Noctuoidea (Owlet Moths and kin)
Family Erebidae
Subfamily Arctiinae (Tiger and Lichen Moths)
Tribe Arctiini (Tiger Moths)
Subtribe Pericopina
Genus Gnophaela
Species vermiculata (Police Car Moth - Hodges#8037)
Hodges Number
Other Common Names
Gnophaela vermiculata
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Gnophaela vermiculata (Grote, 1863)
* phylogenetic sequence #930356
Gnophaela includes five species in America north of Mexico. (1), (2)
Wingspan about 54 mm, based on photo by Jeff Miller at USGS
Adult: all black except for large white spots on wings [similar to other species in the genus; see Genus page for links to comparison photos of all five North American species]

Larva: yellow with uniformly-distributed patches of black hairs that partly obscure the yellow ground color
southern British Columbia south to Oregon, northeastern Nevada, Utah, Colorado, and northern New Mexico(2)
Typically foothills, mountain ranges, mid-elevations
Adults fly during the day in late summer, July-August (Alberta)
Larvae feed on bluebells [lungwort] (Mertensia spp.), puccoon (Lithospermum spp.) and stickseed (Hackelia spp.).
Adults feed during the day on nectar of herbaceous flowers such as thistle (Cirsium spp.) and goldenrod (Solidago spp.)
Life Cycle
overwinters as a larva
See Also
adults of other species in the genus have similar color and pattern [see Genus page for links to images and distribution maps of the four other North American species]
Print References
Powell, J. A. & P. A. Opler, Moths of Western North America.(2)
Miller, #1, p. 29 (3)
Internet References
pinned adult image by Paul Opler, plus US distribution map (
Macromoths of Northwest Forests and Woodlands pinned adult image plus description, distribution, foodplant (Jeff Miller, USGS)
pinned adult image plus common name references, habitat, flight season, description, foodplants, distribution (Strickland Entomological Museum, U. of Alberta)
distribution in Canada list of provinces (U. of Alberta, using CBIF data)
Works Cited
1.Annotated check list of the Noctuoidea (Insecta, Lepidoptera) of North America north of Mexico.
Donald J. Lafontaine, B. Christian Schmidt. 2010. ZooKeys 40: 1–239 .
2.Moths of Western North America
Powell and Opler. 2009. UC Press.
3.Macromoths of Northwest Forests and Woodlands
Jeffrey Miller, Paul Hammond. 2000. USDA Forest Service, FHTET-98-18.