While we’re used to seeing all manner of moths and butterflies visiting our gardens, there’s one festive flier that outshines all the rest. It’s a pink-and-yellow moth that we can safely say is the most eye-catching specimen we’ve ever seen. It’s widely known as the rosy maple moth, and its scientific name is Dryocampa rubicunda. This moth is native to North America and can be found in many states; it’s been known to live as far west as Texas, as far south as Florida, and as far north as Canada.
This moth’s body appears woolly in texture, and it has a distinctive color and pattern. Once you see it, you’ll never forget it, because this moth has a pink and yellow-hued appearance, which is undeniably reminiscent of a pink lemonade-inspired color palette. It’s called the rosy maple moth because of the color scheme of its body, which has sections that are rosy pink in hue, as well as its preferred habitat. These moths like to live in maple trees, which the South has in abundance. They can also be found on oaks.
According to the University of Virginia Mountain Lake Biological Station, “Their wings are creamy yellow or white, with rosy pink markings on the margins and bases. Their coloration, however, is extremely variable; in some the wings may be pink with small slivers of yellow; in others the pink markings may be less noticeable. Moths with very few pink markings are classified as the subspecies alba, and usually occur in Missouri. Their heads and bodies are typically furry and yellow; their antennae and legs are red-pink and the former are feathery.”
The caterpillar forms of the rosy maple moth are known as green-striped mapleworms, and they like to lay their eggs on the underside of maple leaves. The caterpillar’s name is accurate: It has is a green body that’s striped with greenish-bluish shades. We don't see this species every day, but when we do, it's a truly memorable sighting.
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Have you ever seen a rosy maple moth in the wild? What moths and butterflies have you seen frequenting your garden?