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Attributes of Hemileuca oliviae
Range caterpillar moth
Hemileuca oliviae T.D.A. Cockerell, 1898
Identification: Females are darker and much larger than males. Upperside of wings is tan to light brown; wings of female may have a pink tint. Forewing has a light brown costa and a faint median band.
Wing Span: 1 7/8 - 2 15/16 inches (4.7 - 7.5 cm).
Life History: Adults emerge in the late morning and mate after dusk. Females lay rings of eggs around the stems of both host and nonhost plants. Eggs overwinter and hatch the following May or June. Young caterpillars feed in groups while older caterpillars are solitary feeders. Fully-grown caterpillars pupate in loose cocoons under a shrub or in tied-together grass blades.
Flight: One brood from September-December.
Caterpillar Hosts: Grama grass (Bouteloua oligostachya) is the favorite, but other grasses are eaten including hairy mesquite grass (B. hirsuta), buffalo grass (Buchloe dactyloides), Texas timothy (Lycurus phleoides), and bromegrass (Bromus polyanthus).
Adult Food: Adults do not feed.
Range: East-central New Mexico; northeastern New Mexico and nearby areas of Colorado, Oklahoma, and Texas; Chihuahua, Mexico.
Conservation: Not usually required.
NCGR: G5 - Demonstrably secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.
Management Needs: During periodic outbreaks caterpillar feeding can cause much damage to rangeland by reducing forage for livestock and encouraging erosion. The stinging hairs of the caterpillars can irritate livestock.