Cornworms and Hornworms and Squash Borers, Oh My!

Three moths, Corn Earworms, Tomato Hornworm and the Squash-Borer, applaud our gardening efforts (alas, the chief contenders for the BugLady’s patio tomatoes are chipmunks, not bugs). Those who don’t want to share can find a lot of information about pest control on-line and at your local Agricultural Extension office.

The 12 Bugs of Christmas

It’s time again for the Annual “Twelve Bugs of Christmas” event (and, coincidentally, episode #350 in the series, by the BugLady’s numbering). Here are a (Baker’s) dozen insects that will not be getting (or who have already had) their own BOTWs. Feel free to hum along, and have a lovely Holiday.

Lovely Larvae

Beautiful caterpillars that grow up to be admirable-looking adults (none of which the BugLady has seen, unless she has a picture of the Lithacodia somewhere in her X-Files). All three of these species have similar ranges east of the Rockies, and the adults of all three can be seen in mid-summer through fall.

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.

Darling Underwing (Family Noctuidae)

Underwings Moths are called underwings because their very-well-camouflaged, tree-bark-patterned forewings hide a delightful surprise–multi-colored, striped hind wings. Underwings are nocturnal (sharp-eyed BugFans may spot them on tree trunks by day, often sitting head down. The caterpillars are nocturnal, too. They ultimately pupate on the ground, and there’s only one generation per year.

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.

Two-lined Petrophila Moth Rerun (Family Crambidae)

Two-banded Petrophilias are found near the rivers and streams in eastern North America that their larvae inhabit. The hind wings of adult Petrophila moths have a row of black/metallic spots that make one spider enthusiast theorize that they’re Jumping Spider mimics.