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Ailanthus Webworm Moth
Atteva aurea

Some might mistake this lovely moth for a beetle when it is resting, as it keeps its wings close to it’s sides. However when in flight, it appears more like a wasp! These webworm moths are members of the Ermine moth family, which I think gets its name for the spots that resemble the fur of spotted ermine.

As per it’s name, the larvae and caterpillars love love love that Alianthus tree (also called Tree of Heaven). These moths also like other plants as well, and are considered good pollinators. I’ve listed them here as toxic, only because they are if you eat them. So, don’t do that.

Size: 18mm to 30mm (0.70" to 1.18")
Family: Yponomeutidae (try to pronounce THAT one!)
Habitat: Ailanthus tree and other plants
Identifiers: Active in spring and summer in the Mid-Atlantic
All text and photos copyright © 2022 Middle Way Nature Reserve, unless noted.
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