Pandora PineMoth has edible caterpillars called Piuga by the Paiute!!!

Mystery Moth
I found your site after scouring the internet for an identification of a moth I found that stunned itself running into my window. I live in Mariposa County in California about 25 miles from Yosemite National Park. This..not so little..guy is really fuzzy and has bright orange non-fuzzy stripes on his body. Its the second one I’ve seen in two days. Any information you could provide would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!!

Hi Charity,
This is a Pandora Moth, Coloradia pandora. It is a male judging by the antennae. There are five images on BugGuide, and all are from Klickitat County, Washington, USA. Curious about what caused some naturalist of yore to name this lovely moth after that mythical she who unleashed countless plagues upon our planet upon opening the proverbial “Pandora’s Box”, we continued to web search. The Butterflies and Moths of North America site has addtional information and lists this as the Pandora Pinemoth. Additional research led us to Wikipedia, which had this information: “It is native to the western United States. The larvae of the Pandora Moth feed on the foliage of several species of pine trees, including the lodgepole ,Jeffrey , and ponderosa pines. The larvae populations sometimes reach high enough levels to cause severe defoliation; such outbreaks have occurred in northern Arizona , central Oregon , and southern California . The Paiute people in California’s Owens Valley and Mono Lake areas harvest, prepare, and store the Pinemoth larvae (which they call piuga ) as a preferred food. This has brought the natives into conflict with the United States Forest Service , which has sought to control Pinemoth populations through the use of insecticides.” There is no information on Conservapedia, a fascinating site we just read about that has a glaring lack of information on the Praying Mantis as well. HMMMMM. What’s That Bug just might try to contribute that much needed article to the conservative rebuttal of the heathen scientific information on Wikipedia, though somehow we think our sense of humor might not be appreciated there.

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