Greenstriped forest looper

Greenstriped forest looper - Dorso-lateral view of mature larva, on Douglas-fir
  • Latin name: Melanolophia imitata (Walker)
  • French name: Mélanophe des conifères
  • Order: Lepidoptera
  • Family: Geometridae
Description

Distribution

British Columbia

Micro-habitat(s)

Needle

Damage, symptoms and biology

The greenstriped forest looper is a common and occasionally destructive solitary defoliator. Severe defoliation may result in top-kill and occasional tree mortality.

Mature larva to 37 mm long. Head, unmarked green. Body, green with broad whitish green addorsal stripes and a narrow white subspiracular stripe. Spiracles marked by prominent yellow spots.

This species overwinters as a pupa buried in the duff. Adults emerge from mid-March (on the south coast) to mid-June (in the central interior) and deposit up to 80 eggs singly on branches and tree trunks. The larvae emerge soon after and initially feed on the underside of needles; later instars feed openly, preferring foliage of the previous year. Most feeding damage occurs in the crown of the tree. Larvae complete feeding by early August, drop to the ground, and burrow into the litter and pupate.

Life cycle (West of the Rockies)

Life cycle (West of the Rockies)
Stage/Month J F M A M J J A S O N D
Egg
 
Larva
 
Chrysalis
 
 
Adult
 

Other information

In British Columbia, outbreaks were recorded on the west coast of Vancouver Island in 1952 and 1963, on the Queen Charlotte Islands in 1963 and near Revelstoke in 1952.

Canadian Forest Service Publications

Greenstriped forest looper

Diet and feeding behaviour

  • Phyllophagous : Feeds on the leaves of plants.
    • Free-living defoliator: Feeds on and moves about freely on foliage.
Information on host(s)

Main host(s)

Amabilis fir, Engelmann spruce, grand fir, mountain hemlock, Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir, Sitka spruce, subalpine fir, western hemlock, western larch, western redcedar, western white pine, white spruce

Photos
  • Greenstriped forest looper Dorso-lateral view of mature larva, on Douglas-fir
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