Pretty Moth
March 11, 2010
I’ve seen this moth twice before, where I go to school. It’s about the size of a cupped palm, slightly smaller, and is very pretty to look at. I’ve been trying to find out what they’re called for ages. I let one crawl onto my hand and it was really docile, plus the fluff is very puffy and soft. ^_^ I only managed to get one decent picture. Help to identify it would be very much appreciated!
Idyllwild, California

Pandora Pine Moth

Hi Nikolaus,
This beauty is a Pandora Pine Moth, Coloradia pandora, a species endemic to the west coast.  According to BugGuide:  “Two years are required to complete development. Second- or third-stage caterpillars overwinter the first year in tight clusters, resume feeding in the spring, pupate in June or July, and spend the second winter in underground pupation chambers lined with silk and plant litter. Some can remain in the pupal stage for up to 5 years before emerging as adults.
The caterpillars are eaten by the Paiute Indians.

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