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Archive for June 13, 2016

Rosy Maple Moth Reproductive Cycle

6-13-16  rosy maple moth2  039

In today’s post, I inferred that further south a female Rosy Maple Moth mated more than once in a given summer.  I would like to suggest that this may not be the case. While a source I consulted stated that “for each new brood, rosy maple moth females find a different male,” the reproductive behavior of the Rosy Maple Moth is not well understood. Other sources infer that further south the larvae of the first brood mature and mate, producing a second brood, and that the second brood, at least in Florida, has time to mature, breed and produce a third brood before winter.  This would be the more typical reproductive life cycle of a moth, and while I cannot personally confirm that this is accurate, it seems more logical to me.

Rosy Maple Moths Emerging, Mating & Laying Eggs

6-13-16  rosy maple moth 059Rosy Maple Moths (Dryocampa rubicunda) are easy to recognize, with their pink and yellow woolly bodies, pink legs and pink antennae.  Many adults are emerging from their pupal cases now, having spent the winter underground as pupae. Once metamorphosis is complete, the adult moths lose no time in finding mates and laying eggs, not stopping to even eat.  These members of the family Saturniidae are most active during the first third of the night, reducing their body temperature and activity in the morning and afternoon.

Mating takes place at night on the underside of a leaf, and 24 hours later the female lays clusters of 10-30 eggs (a total of 150 – 200 eggs) on the underside of the leaves of the larvae’s host plants, most often maples and oaks.  When the eggs hatch, the larvae usually remain on the same tree throughout their larval stage.

Known as Green-striped Mapleworms, the larvae initially feed together, but become independent feeders as they age.  Mapleworms change color as they develop.  When young, most have black heads and yellow bodies, but with age their heads turns reddish-brown and their bodies assume a shade of green.

In New England there is only one brood per summer; further south, there are multiple broods.

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