Geometridae (geometrid moths)
There are 5 North American species in the genus Xanthotype, and they are all virtually indistinguishable from one another. The patterns and colors are all similar and also vary widely within each species. In Missouri, the ones you are most likely to encounter are the crocus geometer (X. sospeta) and false crocus geometer (X. urticaria).
Adults are yellow or tan, with reddish or purplish dots and small blotches.
Larvae are round, light yellow-green or brown, sometimes with reddish lateral lines. They rest with body extended out at an angle and resemble little twigs or shoots. The head is flattened and greenish-white.
Wingspan: 1–1¾ inches.
Where To Find
Habitat and Conservation
Usually found in and around woodlands. These moths are mostly nocturnal and are often seen at lights. During the day, they rest among understory trees and shrubs.
Larvae feed on a variety of low-growing nonwoody plants as well as several types of trees and shrubs, including dogwood.
Common breeding residents.
Adults fly from early May into September. There are two generations in Missouri. These moths overwinter as pupae.
Biologists who specialize in the study of butterflies and moths are called lepidopterologists. Biologists who specialize in naming and distinguishing between various species are called taxonomists. A person who can identify the different species of Xanthotype moths is a lepidopterologist taxonomist!
The caterpillars are herbivores that graze on vegetation. All stages—eggs, caterpillars, pupae and adults—provide food for predators.
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.