New York Natural Heritage Program
Scribbled Sallow Moth
Sympistis perscripta (Guenée, 1852)
Insects

Identifying Characteristics [-]
The species is mostly gray. The forewing is dark gray with well-defined black lines and black-outlined spots. The heaviest mark is the zigzag antemedial line. The postmedial line is double and wavy. The claviform spot is elliptical and larger than the round orbicular spot. The reniform spot is shaped like a crescent or is slightly curved. The wing veins are more visible beyond the postmedial line. The hind wing is dark gray and slightly lighter towards the base. The wingspan is approximately 30-33 mm. The brightly colored larva (caterpillar) is black, yellow, and white. The back is black, with uneven spots down the middle outlined in white. On each side, there is a wide white stripe around the spiracles (breathing holes) that includes large, uneven, yellow spots and blackened pinacula. The hardened plate known as the prothoracic shield is white with four distinct black spots. The head is gray-white with a sprinkling of black spots. Larvae grow to approximately 3 cm (Wagner et al. 2008).

Behavior [-]
The species is documented to have one annual generation in Connecticut, but some evidence of a partial second generation also has been documented. Additional research on the life history of the species is needed. The pupa spends the winter underground in a large cocoon (Wagner et al. 2008).

Diet [-]
Larval foodplants include species in the genera Antirrhinum, Linaria, and Nuttallanthus (Powell and Opler 2009). In the Northeast, larvae feed on flowers and seeds (not leaves) of toadflax, especially old-toadflax (Linaria canadensis) (Wagner et al. 2008).
Scribbled Sallow Moth Images
click to enlarge
The Best Time to See
The best times to see the species are during its last larval stage (thought to be June-July in New York State) or flight season (apparently July-August in New York State) (Wagner et al. 2008).
J F M A M J J A S O N D
Present Reproducing Larvae present and active
The time of year you would expect to find Scribbled Sallow Moth present (blue shading), reproducing (green shading) and larvae present and active (orange shading) in New York.