moth

Common name: Giant Leopard Moth

Scientific name: Hypercompe scribonia, Fishers Island NY. June 2017.

Season: One generation a year in the Northeast, with adults in June, caterpillars through the summer and over the winter, then turn into pupae the following spring.

Food: A variety of broadleaf plants, such as dandelions and violets.

Ecology: A large moth, with a wingspan of three inches, lives up to its name, having many spots akin to a leopard. It has a beautiful metallic blue and orange abdomen hiding beneath its large wings. Mating sessions last more than 24 hours. When startled, the moth may emit yellow drops of liquid from the sides of its body. This is believed to be a defense against predators (who might taste the liquid and find the moth disgusting!).