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New England buckmoth Hemileuca lucina Hy. Edwards, 1887
Identification: Females are larger than males. Male abdomen is black with a red tip, female abdomen is black. Upperside of wings is gray with narrow black borders, black at the wing bases, and wide translucent white bands.
Wing Span: 1 3/4 - 2 3/8 inches (4.5 - 6 cm).
Life History: Adults emerge in the early morning and mate in the early afternoon. Females lay eggs circling a main stem that will expose the eggs to sun. Eggs overwinter and hatch in the spring. Young caterpillars feed in clusters and older ones feed alone. Fully-grown caterpillars wander and make loose cocoons in leaf litter or a few inches underground in soft soil.
Flight: One brood from September-October.
Caterpillar Hosts: Oaks (Quercus), wild black cherry (Prunus serotina), willows (Salix), gray birch (Betula populifolia), and blueberry (Vaccinium).
Adult Food: Adults do not feed.
Habitat: Wet meadows and open fields.
Range: Southern Maine, New Hampshire, southeastern Vermont, and Massachusetts.
Conservation: Populations should be inventoried and monitored to determine conservation status.
NCGR: GU - Unable to assign rank due to lack of available information.
Management Needs: None reported.
Pollinator Week was June 20-26, 2022!
Butterflies and moths are accidental pollinators of many flowering plants. While most species do not have special structures to carry pollen, they do brush against pollen and transfer it to other flowers.
Did you know? The Eastern Tailed-Blue (Cupido comyntas) flies close to the ground and uses its short proboscis to probe flowers of wild strawberry, white sweet clover, and other low-lying plants.