Bog Buckmoth

Bog Buckmoth (Hemileuca spp.)

Bog buckmoths are a unique, day-flying  silk moth species in the family Saturniidae. they have stunning white, black and orange markings with a large wing span. The larval stage of this species is dependent on a bog plant called bog buckbean. The diurnal habits, physical attributes, and specialized habitat of the bog buckmoth make it a species of interest. Natural and human caused impacts have reduced the specialized habitats needed for the survival of bog buckmoths. Due to the rarity of this species, bog buckmoths are considered an endangered species in New York.

Habitat/Distribution: 

Bog buckthorn moths are only found in rare and distinctive wetlands called calcareous fens where its primary host plant the bogbean (Menyanthes trifoliata)grows. Below are two photos that depict the bogbean plant and a calcareous fen habitat.

bogbean plant

bog habitat 2

Bog buckmoths are sparsely distributed and are only found in ten colonies throughout the world with six of those colonies located in Oswego County, NY , and the other four in eastern Ontario, Canada. In NY, bog buckmoths can be found in wetlands sheltered by the eastern Lake Ontario dune network.

bog buckmoth map

Identification:

Adults-

Wings: Have distinctive white and black lined segments with two yellow eye spots and orange hairs on their abdomen.

size: Males have a wingspan of about 5 to 6 cm, while females are slightly larger with a wingspan of 6 to 7 cm. Each have a length of about 3.8 cm.

bog moth Larvae-

Body: predominantly black in color with yellow specks and covered in yellowish colored stinking hairs with reddish colored stumpy prolegs.

Size: 65 mm long and 8mm in diameter

bog moth larvae

Photo Credits:

Title Photo: bugguide, http://bugguide.net/node/view/711149 . Bog habitat photos and habitat/distribution map: R. Foster  and Tuskes et al. 1996, (www.registrelep-sararegistry.gc.ca)Bogbean plant photo: Earl J.S. Rook, (www.rook.org)Bog buckmoth identification photo: Nick Richter (flicker.com). 

Resources:

Cornell, Jennifer C., Nancy E. Stamp, and M. Deane Bowers. “Developmental Change in Aggregation, Defense and Escape Behavior of Buckmoth Caterpillars, Hemileuca Lucina (Saturniidae).” Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology Behav Ecol Sociobiol 20.6 (1987): 383-88. Http://publications.gc.ca/. Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, 2009. Web. 14 Aug. 2015.

Penney, Mary. “Bog Buckmoth (Hemileuca Spp.).” Eastern Lake Ontario Dunes and Wetlands Fact Sheet Series June 2010 H (n.d.): n. pag. Seagrant.sunysb.edu. New York Sea Grant. Web. 14 Aug. 2015.

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