Ermine moth

World English Dictionary
ermine moth
 
n
1.  Also called: ermine an arctiid moth of the genus Spilosoma, characterized by dark spots on the light coloured wings, and producing woolly bear caterpillars
2.  small ermine an unrelated micro, Yponomeuta padella

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

ermine moth

any of several species of insects belonging to the family Yponomeutidae (order Lepidoptera). Ermine moths are widely distributed in the Northern Hemisphere. The hairy caterpillars feed on dandelions and other weeds, cultivated shrubs, and trees, particularly fruit trees. Ermine moths have a wingspan of 3 cm (1.2 inches). Adult females have brilliant white or cream-coloured wings with dark fleck marks and possess a fluffy thorax and abdomen, resembling a stoat's winter ermine coat, hence the common name.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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