“What’s That?” Wednesday: Rosy Maple Moth (Dryocampa rubicunda)

While moths are generally known for being quite drab and subdued, there are a handful of moths that are actually very colorful. The rosy maple moth falls squarely into the bright and colorful category. This rosy moth is easy to spot during the day, but like most moths, they are nocturnal and most active at night. We had the rare opportunity to watch rosy maples mating during the day, and then later laying eggs. The events that followed where nothing short of amazing.

Read on to find out a bit more about rosy maple moths as well as to download printable sheets of useful photos and information about them. Each Wednesday, check the bottom of the “What’s That?” post to find a PDF containing a fact sheet about the day’s featured item, as well as photographs and other resources ideal for using in a nature journal, research binder, or lap book.

Rosy in white-1

Rosy up close-1

More Rosy's on the way...-1

Rosy Babies looking for grub-1

They can really eat-1

Rosy Babies eating lots-1

Green Caterpillar-1

Some interesting things to know about rosy maple moths:

– Rosy maple moths (Dryocampa rubicunda) are in the Saturniidae family. This family is known to have the largest moths.

-They show variations in color from yellow and pink, to all white in some locations. (The all white moths are classified as a subspecies alba and usually occur in Missouri.)

– The caterpillars, also known as the green-striped mapleworm, feed on a variety of maples, but also on oaks.

– The adults do not feed.

– Adults are typically nocturnal, emerging in late afternoon and mating in the evening.

– Females usually lay eggs on the underside of leaves of the host plant, in groups of 10-30.

– Hatching occurs about 2 weeks later with the young caterpillars feeding in groups.

– They molt 5 times before they pupate or become a pupa in order to undergo complete metamorphosis.  Each molt is called an instar.

– When ready to pupate, they move to the ground and burrow into the soil where they overwinter until emerging as an adult in the spring.

– In the colder northern part of the range there is usually one brood, while in the warmer south there can be up to three broods.

Other Resources:

Butterflies and Moths of North America is great for looking up species, but also allows families to get involved with some citizen science.

– A great graphic for complete metamorphosis can be found here.

Click here to download the rosy maple moth nature journal resource pages to use with your own family.

3 comments… add one

  • Wendy N February 26, 2014, 6:58 am

    We have them here and they are a beautiful Moth. Great post, thanks for sharing some awesome photos.

  • tamara February 27, 2014, 7:41 am

    L said, “wow! they hibernate!” Wish we had them here to see in person – beautiful!

  • KC March 6, 2014, 3:13 pm

    That is a whole lot of caterpillars! But how pretty they the moth is pink.

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