The bold black spots of the Wood Leopard Moth are unique and attractive, but this moth is an enemy to fruit and decorative trees alike.
The Wood Leopard Moth is a non-native species in North America that was recently seen on the East Coast in the 1870s. In Europe and Asia, it has long been considered a pest to fruit trees like plum, pear, apple as well as decorative trees like ash, oak, elm, willow, and beech. The life cycle of this species includes 2 to 3 years inside of stems feeding off a trees juices before it pupates into the winged adult. Caterpillars leave a reddish frass (feces that resembles sawdust) at the base of the tree trunk that they are feeding on. They siphon the nutrients of the tree, resulting in browning leaves, death of new shoots and damaged branches. The fruit production of infested trees suffers greatly and limbs of the tree either fall off, or are deliberately removed and burned to try to contain the spread of the caterpillars. Chemical pesticides applied to the entire tree as well as entry points on branches also helps control the larvae.
Adults are active from the beginning of summer to the beginning of autumn.
Scientific Name: Zeuzera pyrina
Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 35mm to 60mm (1.37in to 2.34in)
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.
Butterfly and Moth Anatomy
Antennae: Butterflies and Moths have a pair of antennae on the head used as sensors.
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and proboscis.
Thorax: Home to the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
Abdomen: Contains vital internal organs such as the heart(s) and reproduction facilities.
Forewing: The upper, forward wing pair used for flying.
Hindwing: The lower, rearward wing pair used for flying.
NOTE: Butterflies and Moths are part of the Lepidopteran order as they share many similarities.