Common Gray Moth: 21 Facts You Won't Believe!


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The common gray moth (Anavitrinella pampinaria) is species of North American moth that belongs to the family Geometridae and order Lepidoptera. They are present almost throughout the continent except the states included in the northern Arctic Circle. The common gray moth, an insect, is unique in many ways, but their identification sometimes becomes difficult. Sometimes they can't be told apart from certain species except for by the way the moth looks. The common gray moth insect has a dark gray body color overall, as its name suggests. Apart from that, the forewing and the hindwing have a pattern of wavy black lines and white lines. These wavy fine black lines on the hindwing and forewing of adults help in the identification of the moth from the other species. A black line is also present on the forewing on each side of the head.

The common gray moth caterpillar of the Anavitrinella genus is highly camouflaged similar to all other geometer caterpillars. If you are interested to know more about common gray moth fun facts, keep on reading the article.

For more relatable content, check out these five-spotted hawk moth facts and plume moth facts for kids.

Common Gray Moth Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a common gray moth?

The common gray moth (Anavitrinella pampinaria) is a type of geometer moth species that is endemic to North America.

What class of animal does a common gray moth belong to?

The common gray moth (Anavitrinella pampinaria) is an interesting species. The common gray moth order is Lepidoptera, and the family Geometridae belong to the class Insecta, the common class for all insects. The common gray moth genus and species are Anavitrinella and Anavitrinella pampinaria, respectively. They are part of the phylum Arthropoda.

How many common gray moths are there in the world?

The global population of the common gray moths has not been determined as of yet. There is no information about the total number of adult individuals present in the range. The population trend could not be determined. They have a very wide range and are found almost throughout the continent of North America, so the population is stable. However, since there is no record of the actual population of these moths, the actual population may fluctuate from the assumed one. Apart from that, there are many similar-looking geometrids that cross the range of common gray moths. Therefore, identification becomes difficult, which may result in incorrect estimation of their population. They are considered to be an extremely secured species without any substantial threat in that part of the range map, but it may vary in other parts.

Where does a common gray moth live? 

The common gray moth is a New World moth species that are distributed throughout the entire continent of North America. Their range extends from the temperate to the tropical regions of the continent except for the arctic region. They coexist with other species of moths like the American dagger moth almost in all the states of North America. The common gray moth is the only North American moth species out of the four that is found in the state of North Carolina. They also occur in small numbers in South Carolina. The species was observed towards the south of the deciduous forest edges in Edgefield County of South Carolina.

What is a common gray moth's habitat? 

The common gray moth can basically adapt to any given habitat condition except extremely cold and chilly regions. This explains the reason why they are only found from the Arctic Circle of North America southward. They are found in large numbers at the edges of deciduous forests in temperate and sub-tropical regions. The food habits of the moth convey a lot about their preferred trees for perching during the breeding season. The larvae are found to feed on the leaves of some deciduous trees like elm, willow, poplar, and aspen. The common gray moth larvae and caterpillars feed and grow on these plants before emerging as adults.

Who do common gray moths live with?

The geometer moths are said to be solitary as adults, but in the caterpillar stage, they are said to be highly gregarious. However, the accurate social scenario of the common gray moth is unknown to many.

How long does a common gray moth live?

The geometer species generally have a lifespan ranging between eight to nine months; however, the accurate lifespan of the common gray moth is unknown currently. The larval stage of the moth lasts for several weeks after that.

How do they reproduce?

There is no particular information regarding the reproductive behavior of the common gray moth. They are only active between the months of April and October. Therefore the breeding season is believed to lie between this span unless the moths show some other related adaptive features. The common gray moth is a Geometridae species. Therefore their breeding behavior will naturally be similar to the other species of geometrids. The male moth will fly every night of their life in search of a female to mate with. On the other hand, the female species of geometers have to fly only on their first night of being an adult in order to find a mate. Mating takes place on the host plants where the females lay their eggs. The males do not leave the females unless they lay eggs. Like all geometers, the gray moth also undergoes four stages of the life cycle. The order in which these stages come are larvae, caterpillars, pupae, and adults.

What is their conservation status?

The common gray moth of North America is not listed in the Red List produced by the International Union for Conservation of Nature or the IUCN. They form a major part of the Animalia kingdom and in the state of North Carolina. Unfortunately, the common gray moth has not been identified by any major conservation site as of yet. They are also not protected by any federal state law. However, since they are a natural heritage of North Carolina, permits are required for collecting from public places such as national parks.

Common Gray Moth Fun Facts

What do common gray moths look like?

The common gray moth is an ordinary-looking medium-sized moth. It has a gray tan body mottled with dark gray or black colors. In an adult, the color of the forewing varies from medium to pale gray, which is heavily mottled by dark gray and black colors. The first abdominal segment of the forewing forms a light yellowish band, and it is bordered by a black line. The black line extends both on the hindwing and the forewing of the moth and becomes curvy or wavy before reaching the costa. The pattern of the hindwing mimics the mottled pattern of the forewing, including the black line. The larvae have a flat head and a light brown or black body. The caterpillars of this species have flat heads and often look like twigs because of their light brown color and stiff bodies.

Common gray moth has gray and black spots on the body.

How cute are they?

The common gray look dull; therefore, it does not attract people as much as a butterfly.

How do they communicate?

Like all geometers, the common gray moth communicates by releasing chemical cues and pheromones.

How big is a common gray moth? 

The common gray moth size from head to the abdomen has not been determined, but their wingspan ranges between 0.9-1.3 in (23-34 mm). They are much smaller than the puss moth.

How fast can common gray moths fly?

There is no information about the movement of the common gray moth, so their speed is unknown.

How much does a common gray moth weigh?

The weight of a common gray moth of the Anavitrinella genus is unknown.

What are the male and female names of the species?

The male and the female species do not have any particular names. Both are referred to as common gray moths.

What would you call a baby common gray moth?

A baby moth is referred to as a caterpillar.

What do they eat? 

The food of the larvae is known. However, there is very little information about the feeding behavior of an adult. The caterpillars feed on the leaves of willow, elm, aspen, and poplar.

Are they dangerous?

No, the common gray moth is not dangerous. They are rather extremely safe and do not contain any poison.

Would they make a good pet?

No, they do not make good pets.

Kidadl Advisory: All pets should only be bought from a reputable source. It is recommended that as a potential pet owner you carry out your own research prior to deciding on your pet of choice. Being a pet owner is very rewarding but it also involves commitment, time and money. Ensure that your pet choice complies with the legislation in your state and/or country. You must never take animals from the wild or disturb their habitat. Please check that the pet you are considering buying is not an endangered species, or listed on the CITES list, and has not been taken from the wild for the pet trade.

Did you know...

The ability of the flat-headed common gray moth larva to detach one side of their body and hang with the other side from a tree branch and the light brown makes it look like a twig appearing from the branch.

Are common gray moths endangered?

There is officially no information regarding the population and conservation status of the common gray moths. They are not listed in the IUCN Red List. However, their large distribution and fairly common visibility indicate that the moth species might be present in large numbers in their range. They also do not face any major threat in their range, which further facilitates growth in population.

What are yellow moths?

Not all moths are gray. There are yellow moths too. The popular brimstone moth (Opisthograptis luteolata) is a yellow moth. They have yellow wings with only a few chestnut-brown markings at the tips.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other arthropods from our black witch moth interesting facts and garden tiger moth fun facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Apollo butterfly coloring pages.

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