Red-Fringed Emerald

Nemoria bistriaria
Geometridae (geometrid moths)

Adults that emerge in summer are green, but those that emerge in spring are tan. Two thin stripes on the wings parallel the outer edges; these markings flow uninterruptedly from forewings to hindwings. In the summer form, the edges of the wings can have a pink or pink-checkered “fringe” (thus the name).

Larvae are grayish, brownish or tan, with each segment bearing a pair of finlike projections. Their slight fuzziness makes them look like the remnants of a dead leaf. When they rest motionless on the edge of a dying leaf, they are perfectly camouflaged.

Wingspan: ¾–1 inch.
Habitat and conservation: 
Found in most wooded areas of our state, because the larvae feed on the leaves of white oaks, which are common in Missouri. Adults, like most other moths, are nocturnal and are attracted to lights.
Larvae feed on white oak and possibly other oaks, black walnut and river birch, as well.
Distribution in Missouri: 
Life cycle: 
Adults fly from April into September. There are two or more broods per year.
Human connections: 
Some people are bothered when moths and other insects gather around their lights at night. Biologists believe that nocturnal flying insects orient themselves naturally by a distant bright object like the moon. Our bright, close artificial lights mess up their navigation systems.
Ecosystem connections: 
The caterpillars are herbivores that graze on oak leaves. They are camouflaged because many predators would like to eat them. Indeed, all stages, from egg to adult, provide food for predators.
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