24 July 2012

NMW: Squash Vine Borer

It's National Moth Week, and while Urban Dragon Hunters is primarily about dragonflies, we are keen on many other insect taxa as well. Why not try to feature a cool moth every day this week?

Day 2 features one of the many borer moths which are wasp, hornet, or bee mimics (and are thus diurnal). I have a thing for flies that are mimics, and while most moths aren't quite as convincing, they are still pretty cool. This species is the latest I've photographed; it's a Squash Vine Borer (Melittia cucurbitae). As the name indicates, the larvae feed only on Cucurbita. They are especially fond of pumpkins and zucchini, and can be quite a pest of these and related crops. I grow none of these, so this one was welcome in the yard, nectaring on milkweed.

Photo by Julie Craves. All rights reserved.


Patrick B. said...

I too am a fan of mimics. I just photographed one of these on some kind of squash plant in my friend's garden. I didn't know what it was at the time, but found out shortly after. I let him know he might have a problem. They're very beautiful.

Curt said...

These things reaped heavy destruction on our squash this year, although only a couple plants actually died.