New York Natural Heritage Program
Jack Pine Looper
Macaria marmorata (Ferguson, 1972)
Insects

General Description [-]
The caterpillar is green with yellow stripes and a reddish brown head. It can reach 22 mm in length (Maier et al. 2003). The moth is similar to other moths in the Macaria genus. It is a small cream-colored moth with dark speckles which are more abundant on the forewings and form wavy parallel lines.

Identifying Characteristics [-]
This species is likely to be difficult to identify by someone not experienced with the Macaria genus. The moth is small and cream-colored with dark speckles which are more abundant on the forewings and form wavy parallel lines. The caterpillar has a green body and a reddish-brown head marked with a dark herringbone pattern (Maier et al. 2003). It may grow to 22 mm in length. Identifying characteristics of the caterpillar include pale subdorsal and spiracular stripes; wide yellow spiracular (side) stripe; yellow patch behind stemmata (extension of spiracular stripe); purplish brown thoracic legs and green prolegs usually with purple shading near the base; dark green middorsal stripe; yellowish white subdorsal stripe with one or two wavy, purplish or dark green longitudinal lines immediately below, especially on anterior body segments. There is also a purplish form of the caterpillar which may result from crowding during rearing (Maier et al. 2003).

Characters Most Useful for Identification [-]
A greenish Macaria caterpillar found on jack pine may be distinguished as M. marmorata by the yellow spiracular stripe on its side which is wider than other similarly occurring species in this genus.

Best Life Stage for Proper Identification [-]
Adult moths and caterpillars may be idenitified by someone familiar with this genus.

Behavior [-]
Macaria marmorata moths are nocturnal and may be captured with black lights.

Diet [-]
The food plant is jack pine (Pinus banksianae).
Jack Pine Looper Images
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The Best Time to See
In Maine, there is one generation. The mature caterpillars are present in August and September and the pupa overwinter in the soil and debris (Maier et al. 2003). These dates are not certain but may be similar in New York. Adult moths have been captured in New York in June and July. The emergence date of the adults in the spring is not known so uncertainty between the pupa and adult stage is displayed as present in the phenology table.
J F M A M J J A S O N D
Present Active Larvae present and active Pupae or prepupae present
The time of year you would expect to find Jack Pine Looper present (red shading), active (blue shading), larvae present and active (green shading) and pupae or prepupae present (orange shading) in New York.