Rosy Maple Moth
Scientifically named Dryocampa rubicunda, these adorably unreal moths are characterized by their distinct pink and yellow colours. While the vibrance of colours can vary, some of these moths can also be very pale, even completely white.
These cuties are found in south-east Canada, including Nova Scotia, Quebec, and Ontario, as well as in Minnesota and down the east coast of the U.S. to Florida. They can even be spotted as far west as Michigan, Indiana, Texas, Kansas, and Nebraska.
Maple trees are where these moths call home, specifically Red Maples, Silver Maples, and Sugar Maples. Females are able to lay eggs up to 3 times per season, about 150-200 eggs. Groups of 20-30 pale yellow eggs are laid on the underside of maple leaves, and hatch in about 2 weeks. For the first few stages of development the larvae live and eat the maple leaves together, but they eventually become independent. The caterpillars, also known as green-striped mapleworms, grow to be about 55 mm (2.2 in.) in length and have green bodies with lateral lines and red heads. After about another 2 weeks, the caterpillars crawl down their host tree and pupate (make a cocoon) underground, which can last another week.
The tiny adult males have a wingspan of 32-44 mm (1.3-1.8 in.) and the females 40-50 mm (1.6-2 in.). These moths are nocturnal; the females emit pheromones at night to attract males, who have bushier antennae to detect these pheromones. Interestingly, the adult moths do not eat, only the larvae does. Their lifespan is typically up to 9 months.
Though the bright colours act as a warning sign to predators,they can still be attacked by birds such as bluejays. Since these moths don’t eat, they don’t affect the ecosystem as predators, and have no economic impact on the environment (though eating all the leaves from a tree can be seen as pesky).
Currently, these moths are not classified as threatened or endangered, which makes me happy because I cannot get enough of these cuties!