Subject: Emerging moth
Location: Fort Myers, Florida
March 12, 2014 6:40 pm
Found this moth with wrinkled wings in my garden today, March 12, 2014. It is on the ground on mulch and amongst fallen leaves of a live oak . I live next to a wetland preserve of pine, cypress, and wax myrtle. Is it a newly emerged Imperial Moth? If so, how long does it take for the wings to fill out and the moth to fly away? It has been there about 10 hours. The body of this moth is huge! About 2.5 inches long – and fat as my index finger. Thought I would bring it into the screen porch to keep it safe from predators, but when I approached it with a piece of paper, it expelled a shot of liquid from its anus; so figured it was best to leave it alone!
We believe this is one of the Oakworm Moths in the genus Anisota, and this photo of a newly emerged Pink Striped Oakworm Moth from BugGuide shows many similarities. Adult Oakworm moths do not eat and they only live a few days, long enough to mate and lay eggs.
Thank you, looks like the moth that was there. There was another one like the other moth in your photo, that seemed to be trying to mate with the one on the ground.
And the one I photographed appeared to be trying to lay eggs. However, I will never know since she has disappeared from the garden overnight. Thanks again, Liz