Learn more about Gold Moths

The Gold moth is a species of moth that belongs to the family Noctuidae, present North America, specifically in Texas, Florida, and Michigan, known for its golden shine and brownish patterns.

Gold Moth Species Summary

Scientific NameBasilodes pepita
Family NameNoctuidae
HabitatRiver bottoms, floodplain swamps, open areas, wet habitats
Range North America
Host PlantsWingstem or crownbeard
Moth DescriptionGolden shiny wings, might also be brownish
Larva DescriptionOrange/yellow with black stripes across its body and a row of white dots

Gold Moth Description

The Gold moth, (Basilodes pepita), is a medium-sized moth, with a wingspan of 1.4 to 1.8 inches (3.5 to 4.5 cm). Adult moths are pale metallic gold with brown lines and spots. Their forewings are brown near the base and along the outer margins.

Forewings also contain two spots near the top. The hindwings are more grayish/pale brown, and a bit darker. Each forewing has a thin brown ring. Below, there’s a spot with a small black dot in the center. On the thorax, there’s a tuft of dark hairs.

gold moth Caterpillar Description

gold moths
Gold moth caterpillar

The Gold moth caterpillar is about 1.57 inches (4 cm) long. It’s usually orange with black stripes around its body. There’s a row of white dots as well, on each side of the caterpillar. Its head is pale orange and the underside is pale yellow. These caterpillars usually tuck in their heads and raise the rear body part when disturbed.

Caterpillars have several instars. The middle instars larvae feed during the night and hide in leaf litter below the host plant during the day. Later instars feed during the day as well, while sitting on the flowers and seed capsules.

Free Butterfly Garden Mastery Course

Sign up for our five-email course that will teach you how to identify, observe and attract butterflies to your garden.

How long do Golden moths live?

  • Egg Stage – 21 days
  • Caterpillar – 1 to 3 years
  • Chrysalis Stage – unknown
  • Butterfly Stage – 1 to 4 days

Ideal Habitat

Unlike pantry moths, or webbing clothes moths, golden moths are quite rare. So far, there’s little information about their life cycle, history, and ecology. In Michigan, this species is usually found around swamps, floodplain forests, and hardwoods. It may also be present around rivers and streams.


This month is rare, yet can be seen around Texas, Florida, and Michigan. A distinct genus of 7 species is also found in Costa Rica and Canada. One species was recorded in North Carolina.

Preferred Host Plants and food plants

Caterpillars feed on crownbeard and wingstem. Wingstem is often found near river banks and swamps. Caterpillars feed on host plants. Adults don’t eat.

Gold moth usual Behavior

This moth has one flight from the fourth week of July to the third week of August during their life cycle. Females lay from 300 to 1,500 eggs after mating. Caterpillars enter the pupa stage by forming cocoons.

is this species nocturnal?

This species is nocturnal, both as an adult and mid-instar caterpillar. Their survival is heavily connected with host plants. Unfortunately, experts don’t have enough information about this moth yet, since it’s a rare find. It’s known that adults are most active in the hottest part of summer and autumn.

Common Predators

As with many other moths, the most common predators of larval offspring are various insects such as flies and wasps. Small mammals, lizards, and spiders are common predators. Being nocturnal, Gold moth might also be a victim of bats.

Are Gold Moths Poisonous?

Gold moth caterpillars aren’t toxic. Still, they have tiny teeth that they use to feed on host plants. In some cases, this caterpillar may sting, but it won’t bite. The stings may be poisonous, and consuming the moths might be dangerous for predators.

Do adult gold moths bite?

Adult Gold moths don’t bite. Adult moths do have mouthparts but those are only capable of sucking.

Are Gold Moths Endangered?

The global rank for Gold moths is G4 – Apparently secure.

When it comes to the US status for the Gold moth, this species is not listed. Its state status is a special concern, meaning it’s rare or uncertain but not legally protected. Furthermore, it’s extremely rare in Michigan and it’s considered imperiled or critically imperiled.

Known threats and habitat isuses

The main associated threat is a lack of scientific knowledge. At the moment, there’s not enough data to discover how endangered this moth really is. Climate vulnerability is one known issue. More surveys need to be done to collect information, assess threats, and determine this moth’s exact lifespan.

Do gold moths enter people’s homes?

So far, there weren’t any reports of golden moth infestation in people’s homes. It appears that this moth species doesn’t enter closets, unlike common clothes moth (Tineola bisselliella). Still, chances are it might get affected by pesticides, moth traps, and pest control tools if it gets closer to homes.

Some claim to have seen it in wool carpets, sweaters, and cashmere clothes, yet it turns out it was the common moth, not the gold one.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?

Leave a Comment