|scientific name Orthosia hibisci |
common name Speckled Green Fruit-worm
Woodlands, urban parks and gardens.
Adults have been collected in Alberta from late March through late May; peak flight in mid April.
A medium-size (3.0-3.8 cm wingspan) noctuid moth. In color they range from pale buff-grey to dark red-brown, with dull grey-brown forms predominating. Forewing pattern is also highly variable, from almost non-patterned to strongly banded forms; most specimens have a prominent reniform with a dark-filled lower half. A diffuse dark band usually runs from the costa through the lower half of the reniform before angling inward to the lower margin. The subterminal line is usually visible as a narrow pale line. The hindwings are dull grey or grey brown with a dark discal mark and often have dark scaling along veins. The fringe is pale.
Very similar to some specimens of Orthosia rivicta, which appears about two weeks later than hibisci, but with much of the flight period overlapping. In general revicta is a more attractive moth, frequently with areas of clear blue-grey or red-brown over a grey or buff pattern. The subterminal line is usually more contrasting and prominent than in hibisci, usually is marked with a series of blackish spots or an orange brown-line bordering the pale yellow one. The forewings of revicta are more squared in shape, rounded in hibisci. Doubtful specimens of the two species may be identified by the genitalia, which differ greatly in the two species. Color images of the larvae are available from a number of sites on the web.
Adults of the single annual brood emerge in late March and April. There is a single brood each year. Adults are nocturnal and come to light. The preferred host in the prairie provinces is apparently trembling aspen, but willows, cottonwoods and white birch are also favored hosts. Larvae have been collected from a wide variety of deciduous trees and shrubs, and to a lesser extent on coniferous trees (Prentice, 1962).
Newfoundland to Vancouver Island; north to the Northwest Territories and south to Texas, New Mexico Arizona and California. Orthosia hibisci occurs throughout most or all of the wooded parts of Alberta, including the wooded valleys in the arid grasslands region.
This is one of the first moths to emerge in the spring, and is the commonest noctuid moth in Edmonton during late March and the first half of April.
Comments are published according to our submission guidelines. The EH Strickland Entomological Museum does not necessarily endorse the views expressed.