Green-spotted Fruitworm Moth adults, in the early days of spring, visit birch and maple sap drips for nourishment, and then switch to nectar from maple and willow flowers. They are considered pollinators. SGQs overwinter as pupae in minimalist cocoons in the soil, ready to go when the ground warms. Females lay eggs (100 to 300 of them) in trees as the leaves emerge; their caterpillars are on the job by the end of April and have disappeared by the end of June, tucked away under the soil until the following year.
Microlepidoptera are a big group of small moths. To some extent, it’s a grouping that’s determined by the size of the moth; there are some families that include both macro and micro species, and the families of the micros tend to be more primitive than those of the macros. The group is very diverse and includes a bunch of day-flying species, and the biographies of many have not been written. Remember—of the 18,000 or so species of Lepidopterans in North America, more than 11,000 are moths. Here are three (and a half) of them.
Everywhere you look, you see adult insects, young insects, and the kinds of activity that will result in them. Here are some sights from the BugLady’s walks in southeastern Wisconsin.
It’s National Moth Week! Right now (July 23rd – 31st)! Moths are diverse, successful, showy, drab, cryptic, abundant, huge (a few have wingspreads close to 12”), micro, tasty, toxic objects of our admiration, confusion, superstition, and reverence.
Spring housecleaning—time to tidy up a few more insects whose biographies are short ones.
Sphinx moth caterpillars are frequently associated with one, or a small group of host plants, for which they are often named (tobacco and tomato hornworms, big poplar, wild cherry, huckleberry, catalpa sphinx, etc.). Some are pests of agricultural or horticultural plantings, and they may have different names than their adults (when it grows up, a tomato hornworm becomes a Five-lined sphinx).
There are 13 species of Datana moths in North America; some are associated with specific host plants like nut trees, sumacs, or azaleas, but the Yellow Necked Datana Moth is more of a generalist feeder. Its menu includes basswood, apple, oak, birch, willow, elm, blueberry, and others.
Cattail Borer Moths are a half-dozen or so species in the genus Bellura in eastern North America, a continuum of very closely-related, yet distinct, species that differ little in appearance or genetically.
Their semi-aquatic larvae feed on/in leaves and stems of emergent aquatic plants like cattails, arrowhead, pickerelweed, water hyacinth, bur reeds, water lilies, and even skunk cabbage.
Mini-moths a diverse bunch. Many of them are diurnal (though several of today’s moths appeared under the BugLady’s front porch light), and the larvae of many species specialize in a single or a limited number of host plant species (the group includes some plant and fiber pests). In this episode, the Orange-Headed Monopis, Speckled Xylesthia, Bidens Borer Moth, Goldenrod Gall Moth, Cream-Edged/Cream Bordered Dichomeris, and the Four-O-Clock Moth are featured.
Lappet Moth caterpillars are generalist feeders, found on members of the willow/poplar, rose, ash, oak, birch, and buckthorn families. Their Tent caterpillar kin can be destructive on a variety of hardwoods, but there are no red flags about Lappet Moth caterpillars from any of the Extension, forestry or exterminator sites.