Another Moth Profile

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I have been doing some ‘scouting’ for National Moth Week recently.  Basically, I am setting up a blacklight and see what turns up.  Last night the star of the show was Norape tenera.  Dozens of them showed up at the light.  So, it seemed a good time to talk about these moths a little bit.

First, they have no common name, like the vast majority of moths.  They belong to a group known as flannel moths (Megalopygidae).  One of the most amazing things about these moths concerns their larval stage.  The caterpillars have setae that are often covered by long, silky hairs (which are responsible for the name ‘puss caterpillars’ for the larvae).  The setae can produce rather painful stings.  In my yard the larvae feed on acacias.

N. tenera is one of three species in the genus in western North America.  The flight season of the adults is July through September.  Eleven megalopygids occur in North America.  The species was described in 1897 by Herbert Druce (1846-1913), a British entomologist who did a lot of work on African Lepidoptera.  Somewhat confusingly, there was another British entomologist named Druce, Hamilton Herbert (1869-1922).  The second Druce was an authority on the Lycaenidae (blues, hairstreaks, and coppers).

 

 

 

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