Common Name: Great leopard moth
Scientific Name: Hypercompe scribonia (Stoll)
Description: The great leopard moth, Hypercompe scribonia (Stoll) (Lepidoptera: Arctiidae), with a 3-inch wingspan, is white with black open-circular spots on the forewings and a metallic blue abdomen with orange markings. Caterpillars grow to about 2 inches. The caterpillars are fuzzy black caterpillars with the underlying body color of red to orange.
Life Cycle: Caterpillars can be abundant in the spring time. They can sometimes be seen crossing roads so commonly that motorists notice them. The adult moths are common under lights at night later in the season to mid summer. There may be a second generation later in the year.
Habitat and Food Source(s): Caterpillars feed on a variety of broad leaved plants that seem to be mostly weeds.
Pest Status, Damage: They are not considered pests except a bit in pastures. They are abundant enough for many people to notice them.
Literature: Metcalf, Flint and Metcalf. 1962. Swan and Papp 1978.