28 July 2012

NMW: Buck moth

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 6 is yet another diurnal moth, a buck moth (Hemileuca sp., likely H. nevadensis, Hodges#7731, as there were larvae feeding on willows). Buck moths are in the silkworm moth family (Saturniidae), and while not quite a spectacular as many of their relatives, are still quite showy. The caterpillars have urticating spines -- they sting, although the punch varies by species.

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee has a nice post about the possible origin of the name "buck moth" and the taxonomy morass that occurs in here in the upper Midwest.

Photo by Darrin O'Brien. All rights reserved.

No comments: