Moths of the Adirondack Mountains: Virginia Ctenucha in the Paul Smiths VIC Butterfly House (18 July 2013)

Moths of the Adirondack Mountains:
Virginia Ctenucha (Ctenucha virginica)

Moths of the Adirondack Mountains: Virginia Ctenucha in the Paul Smiths VIC Butterfly House (18 July 2013) Moths of the Adirondack Mountains: Virginia Ctenucha n the Paul Smiths VIC Butterfly House (18 July 2013)

The Virginia Ctenucha (Ctenucha virginica) is an attractive moth that may be seen in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York and in the Paul Smiths VIC Butterfly House in mid-summer. It is widespread and common. [1] The Virginia Ctenucha is a member of the Erebidae family. [2] This family consists of a varied group of striking moths living in woodlands, fields, and gardens,[3] as well as freshwater swamps, marshes, and bogs. [4]

The Virginia Ctenucha is the largest and most broad-winged of wasp moths in North America. [5] Its wingspan is 1 3/8 to 2". [6] This moth has a metallic blue body, which contrasts with the bright orange of its head and the sides of its collar. [7] Its fore wing is a deep grayish brown, with some metallic blue at base. Its hind-wing is black. As can be seen from the photo, the fringes on all the wings are partly white. [8] The adult Virginia Ctenucha flies primarily during the day, but may also come to light at night. [9] Adults feed on nectar at various flowers, such as goldenrod. [10] The larva body surface is black, covered with tufts of cream-colored or black hairs. [11] Caterpillar hosts include grasses, sedges, and irises. [12]

Despite its name, this is a northern moth. [13] The range of the Virginia Ctenucha includes much of northeastern North America, from Labrador to Pennsylvania, west to Manitoba and Kansas. [14] The flight period for the Virginia Ctenucha throughout its range is from late spring to late summer. [15] [16] [17] The larva can usually be seen from April to September, but may be found any time of year, since they overwinter. [18]

The flight period for this moth in the Adirondack Park has not been documented. Virginia Ctenucha moths were observed near Tupper Lake in Franklin County in early July 2012 and in Essex County in late July 2012. [19] In 2012, the Virginia Ctenucha (Ctenucha virginica) was present in the Paul Smiths VIC Native Species Butterfly House fairly consistently from 21 June through 27 July. [20] In 2013, this moth was present in the Butterfly House in late July. [21]

References

Explore the VIC

The Paul Smiths VIC offers a wide variety of programs throughout the year to educate and inform Adirondack Park residents and visitors about the natural wonders of the Adirondack Mountains. You can help support these programs by joining the Friends of the VIC. More information on Friends of the VIC memberships

Explore the Trails

The VIC trails are free and open to the public, from dawn to dusk, spring through fall. In winter, the trails are open to cross-country skiers and snowshoers for a fee. Day or season passes may be purchased.