Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Believe it or not Moths

Black-waved Flannel Moth - REK
I was out of town during National Moth Week this year.  To make up for this omission, here are a couple of mothsbelieve it or not, that don't look like moths to those of us still working on Mothing 101.

I almost brushed this white ball of fluff off the porch swing until my curiosity overcame me.  A photograph with a macro lens confirmed that it was actually a Black-waved Flannel Moth, Lagoa crispataThey fly from May to October and produce one to two broods a year.
Early instar


Their caterpillars are white fluffy creatures initially, looking like the silk around an egg sac. Don't let the softness fool you - they have stinging spines underneath their fluffy coat. According to Jeffery Pippen of Duke University "Early instars are pure white, while later instars become more orange-gray." They feed on oaks, poplars, Prunus species, sassafras, willows, and other trees and shrubs.
Later instar -  Even with its hair wavy, it still stings!

Purple-crested Slug Moth
This Purple Crested Slug, Adoneta spinuloides almost looked like a miniature bat clinging to the screen on our sliding glass door.  It is found predominately in the east and Missouri is on the western fringe of it range.  They belong to to family of slug caterpillar moths.  These are relatively small with a wing span of 1.5-4.3 cm.  They tend to have stout, usually hairy bodies, and broad, rounded wingsAdults have small heads with short palps and proboscises.

Like many lepidoptera, their common name of "slug" derives from the appearance of their larvae (caterpillars) which move like slugs, gliding on their prolegs and suckers . They can be densely hairy or hairless, but usually they have stinging hairs.  They feed on a variety of woody and herbaceous plants and overwinter in loose, oval cocoons .

A. spinuloides, tiny hairs but they sting!   Troy Bartlett CC

The colorful Purple Crested Slug caterpillar consumes a wide variety of plants and trees. Known larval hosts include Prunus species, birch, chestnut, beech, cherry, and willow. Willows are common along Bull Creek and wild plum are scattered along the drive, so I guess this was just another visit by one of our many neighbors along the creek.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent and informative phlog, beautiful photo shots as well.