Several Rosy Maple Moth (Dryocampa rubicunda) specimens have visited Rosslyn in recent days, all gathering on the exterior of the mudroom door.
Some years we see none; others we see many. Because the pre-metamorphosis Rosy Maple Moth larvae (aka greenstriped mapleworms) feed on maple and oak foliage, I suspect their population expansion and contraction corresponds to the health of our local trees. But, to complicate the equation, adult Rosy Maple Moth moths actually don’t eat (apparently they don’t even have mouths). Hhhmmm…
Rosy Maple Moth
As the photographs in this post clearly indicate, this is one moth that you won’t likely mistake for an imposter.
Rosy maple moths are distinguishable by their incredible bright pink and yellow color and wooly body.(Source: Fact Animal)
In addition to the stand-out coloration, that foppish mop of furry fluorescent hair makes it difficult to miss these flashy friends. And yet, this curious camouflage may, in fact, serve to preserve the Rosy Maple Moth from predators. It is suspected that the bright coloration May actually deter hungry birds shopping for fast food.
The predators of the rosy maple moth and larvae mostly consist of birds including blue jays, black-capped chickadees, and tufted titmice. The bright coloration of the wings may serve as a defense mechanism to trick predators into thinking they are poisonous and not edible. The colouration of this moth rather surprisingly acts as a form of camouflage, blending it in with maple seed cases.(Source: EOL)
And given the greenstriped mapleworm’s (Rosy Maple Moth larva) culinary cohabitation with maples, perhaps resembling maple seed cases is a handy way to evade hungry blue jays, etc.
Caterpillar Hosts: Maple trees including red maple (Acer rubrum), sugar maple (A. saccharum), and silver maple (A. saccharinum); and oak trees including turkey oak (Quercus laevis).(Source: Butterflies and Moths of North America)
We certainly have plenty of sugar maples at Rosslyn, and perhaps our fortunate uptick in brilliant pink and yellow moths bodes well for the health of our maples? Hope so!