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Kidadl Team

SEPTEMBER 09, 2021

Did You Know? 17 Incredible Geometer Moth Facts

Geometer moth facts are enjoyed by kids.

A geometer moth is a huge group including many species of old world and new world moths all of which belong to the family Geometridae. Currently, there are about 2300 described species of geometer moths more than 50% of which are residing in North America. Some popularly known geometrid moths of the family Geometridae are chickweed geometer moth, peppered moth, wavy-lined emerald moth, and false crocus geometer moth. The geometrids are commonly known by the names geometers and their larvae are referred to as inchworms, loopers, measuring worms, and spanworms.

They form the second largest family of moths in North America consisting of nocturnal as well as diurnal moths. The geometer moth caterpillar known as inchworms is also spread widely in that area. The chickweed geometer is one of the most common species of butterflies and moths in the United States. The larvae emerge from the eggs as caterpillars. The caterpillars of geometrid moths lack well-defined pairs of prolegs in their larvae stage. They move by measuring inches and by forming loops. Therefore the geometer larvae are called inchworms, loopers, or spanworms. The inchworm pupates itself and after months, the adults appear from it. To know more facts about the moth, keep on reading these facts.

For similar content check out five spotted hawk-moth and Cecropia moth facts too.

Geometer Moth Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a geometer moth?

The geometer moth is a large family of insect-like moths.

What class of animal does a geometer moth belong to?

All the species of geometer moths of Lepidoptera order and Geometridae family belong to the class Insects, the common class for all butterflies and moths.

How many geometer moths are there in the world?

The geometer moths consist of several species of moths distributed all over the world. The worldwide population of all geometer moths does not follow a general stable trend. Some species of family Geometridae are found extensively in their range while some have gone totally extinct from their original range. Therefore, it is impossible to keep a track of the population of all geometrids belonging to different subfamilies.

However, the population trend of few geometrid moth species has been explored. For example, the species Xanthorhoe inaequata currently has a stable population trend. They are available abundantly in their range and do not experience any major threat as of yet. Conserving secondary forests as well as agricultural vegetation in their native region enhanced the growth. Another geometrid moth species, called the Cyclophora azorensis are also currently stable. Various subpopulations of the genus have been monitored. In contrast to this, only one subpopulation of the Eupithecia ogilviata species is recorded making them one of the most endangered geometrids at present. The peppered moth and chickweed geometer are widespread geometrids of the United States.

Where does a geometer moth live?

Geometer moths occur almost everywhere on earth. It is the second-largest butterfly and moth family which consists of several thousand moths species. These species are distributed all over the world in Europe, North America, Africa, Asia, and South America. The geometer moths have the largest distribution in North America. The United States and Canada shelters more than 1400 types of geometrids.

What is a geometer moth's habitat?

Geometer moths of the Geometridae family can be found anywhere on earth, they occur in a large variety of habitats. The larvae of the geometrid moths occupy host plants and trees. They are found in fruit trees, crops, and forest trees. The caterpillars prefer to live in more woody trees than forest shrubs. Adult moths remain in trees nearby human habitations. They become active at night and are attracted to artificial lights. The chickweed geometer moth is found commonly in urban areas fluttering around yards, roadsides, gardens, and fields.

Who do geometer moths live with?

Geometer caterpillars are gregarious in the larval stage however, as they metamorphose into adult moths, they start to live alone.

How long does a geometer moth live?

An adult geometer moth can live up to eight to nine months. However, the entire lifespan of the moths includes each and every phase of their life cycle like larval and pupal stages.

How do they reproduce?

Geometric moths do not have any particular breeding season, their breeding preferences vary according to their places of origin. Males search for a female mate every night while the females only fly in search of mates on the first night. The female emits pheromone to attracts the male geometrid moths. Usually, they mate on the host plants of the geometer caterpillars. The peppered moth females lay 2000 small eggs. The male guards the female until she lays the eggs. Most of the species of geometrid moths are generally capable of producing multiple generations in a year. However, some of them produce a single brood. The adults most commonly emerge from pupae during late spring and mid-autumn, reaching a peak in August. Like all butterflies and moths, the chickweed geometer moth reproduces following this life cycle.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the entire family of geometer moths has not been evaluated. However, some species of the moth are listed in the IUCN Red List. The species Eupithecia ogilviata are listed as Critically Endangered in the IUCN Red List. Their population has depreciated largely throughout their areas which has made their population highly vulnerable to extinction. On the other hand, the species Xanthorhoe inaequata and Cyclophora azorensis are both classified as Least Concern in the IUCN Red List. Both species have a widespread distribution and can be found in large numbers throughout their native regions. Therefore they are listed as least concern in absence of any substantial threat.

Geometer Moth Fun Facts

What do geometer moths look like?

The species of geometer moths of the huge moth family Geometridae vary widely in terms of physical appearance. Adults generally have a slender body with flat broad wings spread to the side of the moth body. Some moths hold their wings in a V-shaped structure like a butterfly. A large number of species show a diversified range of colors, wings shapes, and body sizes. The antennae of the male geometrid moths are feathery while the females have filamentous antennae. Some species show camouflaged colorations with matching patterns on the hindwings and forewings while the moth is at a resting position. The female geometers of some species have smaller wings. Few examples of the geometric moths are the chickweed geometer moth, wavy lined emerald, peppered moth, and many more. The chickweed geometer moth shows a unique color combination. It has yellow-colored wings with a single pink dot on the forewings. They also have pink-colored bands bordering the edge of the forewings and hindwings. In adults, the pink band appears like a continuous line when the chickweed geometer moth sits at a resting position with flat wings. The wavy-lined emerald moth is regarded as the master among all the camouflaging geometers. Their larvae are also referred to as the camouflaged loopers. The emerald moth as well as the caterpillars have a small green body with white transversal lines on the wings. The peppered moths have white wings with black peppered spots and crisscross lines in the transverse section of the wings.

Geometer moth is nocturnal in nature.

How cute are they?

Unlike a colorful butterfly, like monarch butterflies, most of the geometrids are generally dull and pale. Therefore, they fail to attract humans.

How do they communicate?

The communication between moth species is acoustic, they communicate by chemical cues. Females attract mating males to breed by releasing pheromone in the air.

How big is a geometer moth?

The average length of a geometrid moth ranges between 0.4-2 in (10-50 mm). They are similar in size to the gypsy moth.

How fast can geometer moths move?

These moths can fly very fast however their speed has not been determined.

How much does a geometer moth weigh?

The average weight of the geometrids is unknown. Perhaps they are very light weighted.

What are the male and female names of the species?

The male and the female moths do not have any specific names. Both of them are referred to as geometer moths.

What would you call a baby geometer moth?

A moth in its larval stage is referred to as a caterpillar.

What do they eat?

Like any other moth, the adults preferably feed on grainy food like wheat, cereal, nut, and rice. They also feed on pollen grains and nectar. The geometer caterpillars use several types of leaves as their diet. They feed on shrubs, conifers, herbs, and deciduous trees.

Are they harmful?

The geometer moth is not harmful. However, the caterpillar acts as notorious pests of their common host plants.

Would they make a good pet?

No, geometer moths do not make good pets.

Did you know...

The caterpillars of the peppered moth of Biston genus are able to sense the color of a twig with its skin and take a matching color. Their color varies between green and brown, depending on the color of the twig. This is a defense mechanism of the caterpillar to protect its life from predators.

Life cycles of geometer moths

The geometrid life cycle like butterfly undergoes four stages before emerging as a moth, they are egg, larva, pupa, and adult. They lay eggs singly or in clusters from which several small larvae emerge. The larvae transform into a slender caterpillar with incomplete pairs of prolegs. They move under the soil to pupate. Their pupal stage lasts throughout the winter season. Adults emerge from the pupa in the spring season between May to August.

How to get rid of geometer moth larvae

The geometer moth larvae are camouflaging in nature and are recognized as notorious pests. These inchworms can easily infest your garden plants by forming small loops. To get rid of the loopers you can either use biological treatments if the intensity of infestation is low, or scientific chemical treatments if the plants are heavily infested. The leaves act as the food of the inchworms. Therefore, rooting healthy plants will reduce the chances of infestation. Caterpillars are the primary bird food. So keeping your infested plants out in the open attracts birds towards them and makes them free of an inchworm. A homemade insecticide can be also mixed with water and sprinkled on the plan to get rid of an inchworm. If these methods fail to get rid of the inchworm attack, then chemical insecticides are required. In case of heavy infestation, it is better to pursue professional help.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these emperor dragonfly facts and morpho butterfly facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable I is for Insect coloring pages.

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