Ironweed Borer (Papaipema cerussata)
Detailing the identifying qualities of the Ironweed Borer, including physical features and territorial reach.
Updated: 10/27/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
The larvae of the Ironweed Borer feed on and dig into the stems of ironweed, a native flowering shrub, making them just as rare to see as adults.
Dark black and brown coloring contrasts with clusters of white spots on the wings of the adult Ironweed Borer. Three or four white dots are grouped near the base of the wings. Three larger white dots are in the center of the forewings, angled toward the head. A third cluster of white forms a line angled toward the abdomen. The abdomen is a tawny brown color that is complemented by a brownish corner at the outer edge of each forewing.
Like other moths in this genus, the caterpillars chew into plant parts. This species favors ironweed, a type of aster. Larvae eat into the stems and may be hard to find once inside. Adults can be found in open fields, meadows and marshes, especially in areas where ironweed is present. Despite a large range and versatile habitats, sightings of adult Ironweed Borers are not that common.