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  • Milkweed Tussock Moth - (Euchaetes egle)

    Milkweed Tussock Moth - (Euchaetes egle)

    Sometimes a bit of youthful color spills over into adulthood as is the case with the Milkweed Tussock Moth.

    Picture of Milkweed Tussock Moth
    Staff Writer (8/28/2017): One of many insects that live, love, and eat on the Milkweed plant, the native Milkweed Tussock Moth spends its whole life in one species of vegetation. Like its counterparts, the Milkweed Tussock Moth does sport some bright, alarming colors like red, black and orange. This serves as a fair warning to would-be predators that the insect is not good to eat. The Milkweed plant sap holds a toxic chemical called cardenolide that accumlates in the body of whatever eats it. Monarch butterflies, this moth and the Milkweed bug are prime examples of this.

    Adults are active from late spring to early autumn. Their wings are a drab gray color, but their bright yellow bodies are marked with rows of black spots on the sides. Females lay fertilized eggs in clusters on milkweed leaves. Newly hatched caterpillars begin as yellowish tubes with tiny black heads and are covered in white wispy hairs. They immediately begin chewing up milkweed leaves, leaving the veins behind. As caterpillars progress through their instars, colorful character takes over. The simple white hairs grow longer and the caterpillar gets covered in a mostly black coat. This is accented with bright orange-red hairs that almost form rings around each segment. Sets of long, white lashes project out of the head and rear. They are voracious eaters at every stage and can skeletonize a milkweed plant if decent numbers of them are present. Two broods can be produced in one year.

    Look for Milkweed Tussock Moths anywhere milkweed grows. This includes parks, gardens, roadsides, fields, and meadows.

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    Details of the:
    Milkweed Tussock Moth

    Category: Butterfly or Moth
    Common name: Milkweed Tussock Moth
    Scientific Name: Euchaetes egle
    Other Names: Milkweed Tiger Moth

      Kingdom: Animalia
       Phylum: Arthropoda
        Class: Insecta
         Order: Lepidoptera
          Family: Erebidae
           Genus: Euchaetes
            Species: egle

    Size (Adult, Length): 22mm to 43mm (0.87in to 1.69in)

    Identifying Colors: gray, white, yellow, black, orange, red

    Additional Descriptors: hairy, furry, colorful, bands, lashes, flying

    North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Alabama; Arkansas; Connecticut; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Mississippi; Missouri; Nebraska;New Hampshire; New Jersey; New York; North Carolina; North Dakota; Ohio; Oklahoma; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Vermont; Virginia; West Virginia; Wisconsin; British Columbia; New Brunswick; Newfoundland and Labrador; Nova Scotia; Ontario; Prince Edward Island; Quebec; Mexico

    * Keep in mind that an insect's reach is not limited by lines on a map and therefore may appear in areas/regions/states beyond those listed above.

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