Morning-Glory Prominent

Photo of a Morning-Glory Prominent moth
Scientific Name
Schizura ipomoeae
Notodontidae (prominent moths)

Forewings of adult morning-glory prominents are drab grays, tans, and browns, with small black markings that vary considerably. The hindwings are whitish in males, dark gray in females. At rest, this moth typically folds its wings like a roof over its back. Sometimes the leading edges of the forewings are curled around beneath the abdomen, narrowing the profile, so the moth looks like a twig. The legs look hairy, and a heavy covering of scales on the wings makes them look fuzzy.

Larvae are tan with brown markings, with a green band on the second and third segments behind the head. The body is humped on the fifth abdominal segment (that is, the segment bearing the third of the four back pairs of legs).

North of Mexico, there are 8 species in the genus Schizura.


Wingspan: 1¼–2 inches.

Where To Find
image of Morning Glory Prominent Distribution Map


Look for this species in the woods and nearby areas. A nocturnal moth, it is attracted to lights. When the caterpillars rest along the jagged margin of a leaf they’re eating, they look like a curled up, dried portion of the leaf edge. The adults are also perfectly camouflaged when they rest on the bark of trees. So why is it called a “prominent”? It’s for the tuft of hair that sticks up over the thorax, between the back edges of the forewings, when the moth is at rest.

Larvae have been known to feed on morning glories (hence the name) as well as the leaves of several types of woody plants, including birches, elms, maples, oaks, and roses.

Life Cycle

Adults fly from April or May to September. Caterpillars pupate below ground or in ground litter.

When the caterpillars chew the leaves of garden plants and landscaping trees, they can become pests. But compared to some other moth larvae, this species is hardly devastating.

The caterpillars are herbivores that graze on vegetation. This species is apparently relished by many predators (such as birds) that hunt by sight — we can deduce this by the remarkably convincing camouflage of both larvae and adults.

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About Butterflies and Moths in Missouri
Butterflies, skippers, and moths belong to an insect order called the Lepidoptera — the "scale-winged" insects. These living jewels have tiny, overlapping scales that cover their wings like shingles. The scales, whether muted or colorful, seem dusty if they rub off on your fingers. Many butterflies and moths are associated with particular types of food plants, which their caterpillars must eat in order to survive.