giant leopard moth

(Hypercompe scribonia)

giant leopard moth
Photo by Luciearl
  Hodges #

8146

 
 
Conservation Status
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

NNR - Unranked

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
 
Description
 
 

Giant leopard moth is a common, large, easily recognized tiger moth. It is one of the largest tiger moths in eastern North America. Males are up to 2″ long with a wingspan up to 3½″. Females are much smaller, no more than 1¼″ in length.

The thorax is white with twelve bluish-black spots. There is a tympanal hearing organ on each side of the thorax, but this is covered with hairs and is not visible from above.

The abdomen is strikingly colored but not visible when the moth is at rest. It is bright orange above with large iridescent blue and black bands in the middle (dorsally) and a row of large iridescent blue and black spots on each side (laterally).

The forewings are white with numerous glossy bluish-black spots. The spots are highly variable. They may be solid, boldly outlined with a white center, or narrowly outlined and hollow. The outer portions of the forewing lose their white scales and become translucent as the moth ages.

The caterpillar is up to 3 long and is densely covered with long stiff bristles (setae). The setae are sharply pointed and barbed. They are in clusters rising from prominently raised warts. A narrow, dull red ring between each abdominal segment is visible when the caterpillar moves or curls up into a defensive posture. There is a small breathing hole (spiracle) on both sides of each thoracic segment and all but the last abdominal segment. The spiracles are dull red.

 
     
 

Size

 
 

Male Total Length: up to 2″

Female Total Length: up to 1¼″

Wingspan: 2¼″ to 3½″

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
     
     
 
Habitat
 
 

 

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Season

 
 

One generation per year: May to June

 
     
 

Behavior

 
 

The caterpillar hides in leaf litter or under loose bark during the day and comes out at night to feed. When threatened, it will roll up.

Adults are active at night. Male adults are attracted to light. Females are not. When threatened, they will curl up, displaying their brightly colored abdomen, and exude a yellow, acrid-smelling liquid.

 
     
 

Life Cycle

 
 

Almost mature caterpillars overwinter under logs and beneath bark.

 
     
 

Larva Hosts

 
 

Deciduous trees and a wide array of low growing herbaceous and woody plants.

 
     
 

Adult Food

 
 

Adults do not feed.

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

21, 24, 29, 30, 71, 75.

 
  9/25/2018      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Common in the United States east of the Great Plains

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
 

Order

Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths)  
 

Suborder

Glossata  
 

Infraorder

Neolepidoptera  
  Parvorder Heteroneura  
  No Rank Ditrysia  
  No Rank Obtectomera  
 

Superfamily

Noctuoidea (noctuid moths)  
 

Family

Erebidae  
 

Subfamily

Arctiinae (tiger and lichen moths)  
 

Tribe

Arctiini  
  Subtribe Spilosomina  
 

Genus

Hypercompe  
       
 

In 2011 the family Arctiidae (tiger moths and lichen moths) was transferred to the family Erebidae mostly intact but demoted to a subfamily. The former subfamilies are now tribes, the former tribes now subtribes.

 
       
 

Subordinate Taxa

 
 

giant leopard moth (Hypercompe scribonia denudata)

giant leopard moth (Hypercompe scribonia scribonia)

 
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

Ecpantheria scribonia

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

eyed tiger moth

fever-worm (caterpillar)

giant leopard moth

great leopard moth

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Seta

A usually rigid bristle- or hair-like structure on butterflies and moths used to sense touch. Plural: setae.

 

Spiracle

A small opening on the surface of an insect through which the insect breathes.

 

Tympanum

An external hearing structure. In reptiles and amphibians, the circular, disk-like membrane that covers the ear opening. In insects, the membrane covering the air sac and sensory neurons. Plural: tympani.

 

 

 

 

 

       
Visitor Photos
   

Share your video of this moth.

This button not working for you?
Simply email us at info@MinnesotaSeasons.com.
Attach a video, a YouTube link, or a cloud storage link.

       
Luciearl
       

Giant Woolly Bear

  giant leopard moth    
       
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
   
       
       
       

 

Camera

     
Slideshows
   
  Giant Leopard Moth (Hypercompe scribonia)
Bill Keim
 
  Giant Leopard Moth (Hypercompe scribonia)  
     
  Hypercompe scribonia (Giant Leopard Moth)
Allen Chartier
 
  Hypercompe scribonia (Giant Leopard Moth)  

 

slideshow

       
Visitor Videos
   

Share your video of this moth.

This button not working for you?
Simply email us at info@MinnesotaSeasons.com.
Attach a video, a YouTube link, or a cloud storage link.

       
       
Other Videos
 
  Giant Leopard Moth Hypercompe scribonia
Anangke
 
   
 
About

Published on Aug 9, 2013

I found this moth in my kitchen sink. I leave the front door open so I can hear the cats while they are outside. I guess it flew in. Very pretty. The moth couldn't right himself. I hope he hasn't been in long and got too hungry or thirsty to fly. I'll check on him in the morning.

Wikipedia info

This species has a wingspan of 3 inches (nearly 8 cm). The wings of this moth are bright white with a pattern of neat black blotches, some solid and some hollow. The abdomen is dark blue with orange markings, the male has a narrow yellow line on the sides. Its legs have black and white bands. Adult moths are strictly nocturnal and do not generally fly before nightfall (Fullard & Napoleone 2001).

Hypercompe scribonia, Giant leopard moth, white moth with black spots, Large white moth with black spots, Eyed Tiger Moth,

   
       
  Giant Leopard Moth Beautiful Ultra Macro.
Ray OfMinneapolis
 
   
 
About

Published on Aug 15, 2014

Beautiful Giant Leopard Moth Ultra Macro!

Look at the black spots on this large white leopard moth. Scientific name is Hypercompe scribonia. Recorded with a Raynox DCR 250 Super Macro lens converter on a Powershot SX40HS.

   
       
  Leopard Moth (Erebidae: Hypercompe scribonia) Dorsal View
Carl Barrentine
 
   
 
About

Published on Jul 3, 2011

Photographed at Nisswa. Minnesota (01 July 2011). Thank you to 'Shotguneddie' (@Bugguide.net) for confirming the identity of this specimen!

   
       
  Leopard Moth (Erebidae: Hypercompe scribonia) Lateral View
Carl Barrentine
 
   
 
About

Published on Jul 3, 2011

Photographed at Nisswa, Minnesota (01 July 2011).

   
       
  Giant Leopard Moth ( Hypercompe Scribonia ) in East Dallas Backyard
DoogieDownProd
 
   
 
About

Published on Mar 13, 2012

I came across this black and white Giant Leopard Moth in my backyard a few years ago. The orange and black markings on its body are pretty interesting.

   
       

 

Camcorder

         
Visitor Sightings
   

Report a sighting of this moth.

This button not working for you?
Simply email us at info@MinnesotaSeasons.com.
Be sure to include a location.

HSutton
10/2/2019

Location: Cass County

Found in a northern hardwoods forest on a woody shrub


Luciearl
9/5/2018

Location: Lake Shore, MN

Giant Woolly Bear

giant leopard moth


     
     
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Sightings
         

 

 

 

Binoculars


Last Updated:

About Us | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | © 2021 MinnesotaSeasons.com. All rights reserved.