orange and black moth in maryland
November 2, 2009
I have liven in Maryland my entire life and have not seen this guy before. there were several dozen flying around the house on halloween and they were gone the next day. I never saw one land but when i forced one to the ground it did not move and i was able to pick it up and hold it without it trying to fly away. it did not try to fly when i set it on the ground or an elevated point, i had to toss it in the air and then it flew just as it had been. the abdomen has several black spots around pores but no hair, the head is black and the wings are black near the body and transparent at the tips.
WE were very puzzled by another letter we received yesterday with images. It seems this is an introduced species of Leaf Skeletonizer Moth, Pryeria sinica. You can read about it on the Invasive Species of Concern in Maryland website. The website indicates: “In April and May of both 2001 and 2002, a homeowner in the City of Fairfax, Fairfax County, Virginia, noticed a large infestation of larvae on her ornamental Euonymus (Celastraceae); the larvae were causing significant defoliation of the plants. In May 2002, several larval specimens were sent to the Insect Identification Lab, Department of Entomology, Virginia Tech University, Blacksburg, Virginia for identification. The entomologist there (Eric Day) reared the larvae to adults, which emerged in November. Additional adults were collected at the Fairfax site in December 2002 and submitted to the Insect Identification Lab. Eric forwarded the adults to John Brown at the USDA Systematic Entomological Laboratory (SEL) in March 2003. Based on the available literature, comparison with specimens in the collection of the National Museum of Natural History, and consultation with Dr. Marc Epstein, the specimens were identified as Pryeria sinica Moore (Lepidoptera: Zygaenidae), which previously is unreported from the United States.”