Giant Silk Moths (Family Saturnidae)

Cecropia, Promethea, Polyphemus and Luna moths are members of the Giant Silk Moth family, Saturnidae, and some are giants indeed, with wingspreads measuring 4” to 6”. Northern species tend to have a single brood per year, while their Southern brethren may have two or three.

Three Cosmopolitan Moths

The order Lepidoptera (“scaled wings”) is a large one, with almost 175,000 species globally. Overall, around 80% of Lepidopterans are moths; there are 20,000-plus species of Lepidoptera in North America, and only about 700 of those are butterflies.

Bugs Without Bios VI

“Bugs without Bios” are critters that, while undoubtedly worthy, are barely on the radar in either on-line or print references. But, they contribute to their communities and have their own places in the Web of Life. What these three have in common is their (admittedly very limited) work as biological control agents.

Lessons From Moths

Moths, often inscrutable to the BugLady, are contributing members of the ecosystems they occupy. Caterpillars impact their food plants in sometimes devastating ways; adults are often listed as flower pollinators; and both stages provide protein for their predators.

Summer Summary

As the Bug Season winds down, the BugLady would like to celebrate summer by sharing a baker’s dozen of the pictures she’s taken in the past few months.

Moth Collections

Moths, a sometimes spectacular, sometimes anonymous bunch of insects. Compared with butterflies, moths usually seem “hairier,” have feathery antennae, operate by night, and fold/tent their wings over their bodies when at rest.

Virgin Tiger Moth (Family Erebidae)

Tiger moths are unusual among moths because they have on their thorax tymbal organs, which can be used to produce ultrasonic sound (more about that in a sec), and tympanal (hearing) organs (if you’re going to make sound, it’s nice to be able to hear sound). “Ears” are somewhat more common in moths, but some tiger moth caterpillars can hear, too, picking up sound through some of their hairs.

Two Agricultural Moths

The Green Cloverworm Moth, a.k.a. the Black Snout, is found in waste spots, road edges, grasslands, agricultural areas, and gardens east of the Great Plains. The Common Looper Moth (has a number of things in common with the GCM. It occupies about the same territory as the GCW, occurring as far west as Kansas and Wisconsin. Like the GCM, the CLM produces multiple, fast-growing generations from mid-spring into fall.

Chickweed Geometer (Family Geometridae)

Except for the far east and west coasts, Chickweed Geometer are found from the Rio Grande well north into Canada, especially in the eastern half of the U.S. Because their larvae eat the leaves of chickweed (and clover and smartweed and other low plants) and because lawns may be hotbeds of chickweed and clover, Chickweed Geometers are often found in manicured situations, where their presence is welcomed.

Moths Without Bios – in Camo

Moths in the family Geometridae get their name from the Greek words for “earth” and “measurer. There are a lot of Geometrids – more than 35,000 species worldwide, with 1,400 of those in North America. As a group, they are smallish, nocturnal moths that can tolerate some pretty chilly spring or fall weather. Caterpillars feed on leaves of many woody and non-woody plants, and there are more than a few agricultural and forest pests in the family.