Thursday, December 3, 2009

Yellow-Collared Scape Moth

Yellow-Colored Scape Moths (Cisseps virginica) are a very common little moth found throughout North America. This is probably the most plentiful day flying moth that I encounter. They are all black with a  yellow, orange or reddish colored "collar" around their head. With a wingspan up to 1 inch they would be considered a small moth.

Not much is reported on their life cycle. The caterpillars are small and hairy. They can be pale yellow or white with long tufts of hair projecting from their body. Their heads will be yellow to brownish-orange with black spots on the face. They can be found in many habitats, including open fields with wildflowers, meadows, prairies, flower gardens where they will be seen nectaring at flowers. The caterpillars use lichens, grasses,and spike rushes as their host plants.  The name "scape" apparently comes from the basal point of an insect's antennae.

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