Lesser Maple Spanworm

2016 May 18

This particular species of mostly-white moth comes to our porch light fairly regularly in late summer, but up until now I haven’t had a page devoted specifically to it (although I did have it share a posting with one of its relatives back in 2011). This one is from August 4, 2015.


The four brown spots along the leading edge of each forewing are pretty distinctive. It is the Lesser Maple Spanworm, Speranza pustularia. Here’s another shot, showing its big green eyes with a distinct pseudopupil that makes it look like it is ready to attack at any moment[1].


The caterpillars are green inchworms with white lines running down their backs, and mostly eat maple leaves. As one would guess from the common name. They will eat leaves from other trees too, though, like birch, cherry, and poplar. There is only one generation per year, and they overwinter as eggs, so the caterpillars are only going to be around in the spring and early summer.

[1] Like the fellow frequently says on the Hydraulic Press Channel (usually referring to some small modeling-clay animal being squashed as a bonus at the end of the main video); “It looks extremely dangerous, and may attack at any time. We must deal with it.”

2 Responses
  1. Carole permalink
    May 18, 2016

    Nice face shot.
    Thought you’d enjoy this interview from Scientific American on insect stings.

  2. May 19, 2016

    Thanks, Carole. I hadn’t heard about Dr. Schmidt’s book until you pointed me to that interview. I just ordered it for my Kindle.

    Once I’ve read it, I’ll let everyone know what I think of it.

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