red beetle with white flower-like spots
August 20, 2009
I found this beauty on a table on my side porch. I live in the woods next to a reservoir in northern NJ. Any idea what this is?
The caterpillar of the Ailanthus Webworm Moth, Atteva punctella eats the leaves of the dreaded Tree of Heaven, Ailanthus altissima. This noxious weed tree, a native of China, is invading native forest land from coast to coast. It has long been a fixture in cities especially in areas of urban blight where it thrives. It is the tree from A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, the novel by Betty Smith. Sadly the Ailanthus Webworm only eats the leaves of the tree and this does no lasting damage. We would live to find an insect that bores into the trunks or roots and destroys the plant. We believe the Ailanthus Tree might be the most dangerous invasive exotic plant to the native North American ecosystem. Once it becomes established, it takes over, crowding out all other species. You photo is quite beautiful.