wavy line heterocampa moth

Common Name: Wavy-lined heterocampa

Scientific Name: Heterocampa biundata

Season: One generation a year, with adults by June and caterpillars by July.

Food: Many deciduous woody plants, including basswood, beech, birch, cherry, hickory, maple, oak, walnut, willow, and witch hazel. Oak seems preferred in New England.

Ecology: Early molts of the wavy-lined heterocampa caterpillar sprout antler-like projections on their pronotum (the “shoulder” of the insect), but are harmless. Later molts will appear like the chewed edge of a leaf, which it uses to hide from birds looking for an easy meal. Adults, in comparison, appear dark and mossy, allowing them to blend in against the bark of trees. In the fall, caterpillars will turn reddish and overwinter, turning to pupae in the spring.

Doug Tallamy Photo