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Last updated on April 19, 2014 at 13:20 EDT

Giant Leopard Moth

The Giant Leopard Moth (Hypercompe scribonia), also known as the Eyed Tiger Moth, is a moth of the Arctiidae family. It is distributed throughout the southern and eastern United States from New England to Mexico.

This species has a wingspan of 3 inches. The wings are bright white with a pattern of neat black blotches, some hollow and some solid. 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 rather strictly nocturnal and do not generally fly before nightfall.

The caterpillar is of the “Woolly Bear” kind, with a thick coat of black bristles (setae) and red bands between its segments which become conspicuous when caterpillar rolls into a ball for defense. It should not be touched, as its stiff bristle-like hairs may break off and cause a rash. The caterpillar eats a variety of broad-leaf plants such as broadleaf plantains, dandelions and violets.

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Giant Leopard Moth