Estigmene acrea

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Salt Marsh Moth
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Arctiidae
Subfamily: Arctiinae
Genus: Estigmene
Species: E. acrea
Binomial name
Estigmene acrea
(Drury, 1773)

The Salt Marsh Moth or Acrea Moth (Estigmene acrea) is a North American moth. It is in the family Arctiidae. The caterpillar is known as the Salt Marsh Caterpillar.

Description[change | change source]

A mating pair of Salt Marsh Moths

The head and thorax are white. The abdomen is yellow-orange with a row of black spots. The fore wing (the top wing) is white with a variable amount of black spots (some individuals do not have these spots). The hind wing (the bottom wing) is yellow-orange in males. It is white in females. Both sexes have 3-4 black spots or blotches on their hind wings. The wingspan ranges from 4.5 to 6.8 cm.[1]

Flight[change | change source]

This moth may be seen from May to August.[1] It is seen all year in southern Florida and southern Texas.[2]

Life cycle[change | change source]

Adult and egg masses
Salt Marsh Caterpillar

The eggs are a yellowish color. They are laid in clusters on the host plant leaves. The Salt Marsh Caterpillar is highly variable in color. It ranges from pale yellow to dark brownish-black. It has many soft hairs. The hairs are longer towards the end of the body. The thoracic and abdominal segments have a few rows of either orange or black warts. The chrysalis hibernates in a cocoon.[2]

Host plants[change | change source]

Here is a list of host plants that the Salt Marsh Caterpillar feeds on:

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Charles V. Covell, Jr. (2005). Moths of Eastern North America. Virginia Museum of Natural History, Martinsville, VA. ISBN 1-884549-21-7
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 David L. Wagner (2005). Caterpillars of Eastern North America. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ. ISBN 0-691-12144-3