The genus Alypia contains five species; octomaculata Fabricius 1775, wittfeldii H. Edwards 1883, langtoni Couper 1865, disparata H. Edwards 1884, and maccullochii Kirby 1837. Four of the five species have a distinctive appearance with a black forewing with two large yellow patches and a black hindwing with either white or yellow patches depending on the species and sex. All of the species are day fliers. Alypia octomaculata is one of the most commonly recognized moths in eastern North America and is commonly seen flitting about its foodplants. The moth is commonly seen flying about ivy hanging on buildings. The species is particularly prevalent in the ivy-covered halls of academia. All of the species are North American, although well distributed within the continent, with one strictly boreal-montane species (maccullochii) and one species extending from Texas down into southern Mexico (disparata).
The characteristics of Alypia are:
1. The distinctive pattern of black with yellow to white spots.
2. All of the species have a row of yellow scales on the occiput around the outer margin of the eye and all species except maccullochii have a row of yellow scales on each outer marign of the front.
3. The prothoracic and mesothoracic tibiae have large patches of conspicuous orange scales.
4. The female genitalia are distinctive with a large ring defining the ostium and making the ostial area appear to be large bowl-shaped structure. This structure is not unique to Alypia, however.
5. The vesica of the male genitalia is small, tubular, and contains a sclerotized patch bearing many small tooth-like projections at its base.
6. Male and female antenna simple; antennal segments of terminal one-third to one-half gradually swelling is size and then tapering to the apex of the antenna.
7. Eye reduced in size, with a clear area of separation between the eyes and the ocelli and antenna base and a wide occiput.
The species of Alypia all seem to feed on species of