Thursday, March 22, 2012

Moth Season

The Half Wing - Phigalia titea  
March doesn't seem like ideal moth weather, but it's when when we start to see some species become active (along with some species of butterflies) after winter.  There are a number of species that are cold weather specialists, active early in the spring, or late into the fall.  Many of these cold active moths have females that are wingless; instead of spending energy on flying around in the cold, which takes a lot of energy for an insect, they stay more or less put, let the males do the traveling, and use the "saved" energy for eggs.

The Half-wing featured in this post spends the winter as a pupa in the leaf litter or soil.  Eggs are laid on tree bark in the early spring.  The caterpillars eat a wide variety of broad-leaved woody plants, but specialize in eating new leaves, so they have probably pupated by early summer