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Is She Making A Mistake?


Regal moth ovipositing on a fence, New Stanton, 2 July 2022 (picture by Mike Fialkovich)

8 July 2022

When Mike Fialkovich despatched me images of a regal moth laying eggs on a steel fence close to his workplace I puzzled if this feminine was making a mistake. The fence has no meals for her tiny caterpillars. What is going to her larvae eat once they hatch?

The regal or royal walnut moth (Citheronia regalis) is the most important moth north of Mexico with a wingspan of three.94 to six.25 inches (females are largest). The grownup moth by no means eats — its solely job is to breed — however its caterpillars feast on timber together with hickories, pecans, black walnuts, candy gum, persimmon and sumacs.

Usually their lives unfold like this.

Adults emerge in late night and mate the next night. Females start laying eggs at nightfall the subsequent day, depositing them in teams of 1-3 on each side of host plant leaves. Eggs hatch inside 6-10 days, and the caterpillars (referred to as the Hickory Horned Satan) feed alone. Younger caterpillars relaxation on the tops of leaves and resemble fowl droppings, whereas older caterpillars seem menacing as a result of they’re very giant and brightly coloured with crimson “horns” close to the pinnacle. Caterpillars pupate in a burrow within the soil.

Royal walnut moth account at butterfliesandmoths.org

There’s no clarification for why this moth selected a fence. Did it “odor” like a hickory?

Regal moth ovipositing on a fence, New Stanton, 2 July 2022 (picture by Mike Fialkovich)
Regal moth with eggs on a fence, New Stanton, 2 July 2022 (picture by Mike Fialkovich)

Her caterpillars, known as hickory horned devils, will want loads of meals to succeed in this dimension earlier than they pupate.

Hickory horned satan, ultimate instar of regal moth (picture from Wikimedia Commons)

It seems like a mistake to me however we’ll have to attend and see.

(images of regal moth by Mike Fialkovich, hickory horned satan picture from Wikimedia Commons)

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