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Spiny Oak-Slug Moth (Euclea delphinii)

Spiny Oak-Slug Moth
Euclea delphinii
(Order Lepidoptera; Family Limacodidea)

Euclea delphinii caterpillar (Kansas: Wichita, residential area near Little Arkansas River. 37°41’52.39”N, 97°21’24.92”W). Photo by Anna Balthazor.

Diagnosis:  Larvae are typically green but may be yellow, orange, red, pink, or tan with spiny tubercules along the back and sides. Spines can cause varying degrees of irritation so handling is not advised. Larvae are usually approximately 20mm in length.

Euclea delphinii caterpillar. Image from http://www.bukisa.com/articles/99170_the-twenty-most-toxic-caterpillars


Adults are small moths with a wingspan of about 20-30mm. The body is brown and the forewing has a green patch bordered with white.


Adult spiny oak-slug moth. Dorsal view, left (image from http://www.moths.ca/misc/index.html) and lateral view, right (image from http://miacy.homestead.com/moth29.html)

 

Natural History: Spiny Oak-Slug Moths reproduce once a year in their northern ranges and twice a year in their southern range. Eggs are laid on leaves individually or in small clusters. Larvae go through complete metamorphosis.

 

Distribution: Adults and larvae are located in the eastern half of the United States and believed to have a northern limit of Ontario. Some documented sightings are pictured on the map below, however, accurate distribution information has not yet been determined and Kansas is not listed on this map though records show this species has been found in the eastern half of Kansas.

Distribution of the Spiny Oak-Slug Moth (dark brown). Image from BugGuide. 

 

Habitat: Adults and Juveniles are found on or near deciduous trees and forests.

Diet: Larvae are known to eat a generalist diet of woody deciduous plants and consume older, tough leaves.

Conservation Status: Unknown

 

Video: Spiny Oak Slug Walking

 

Links:

Bug Guide: Species Euclea delphinii: http://bugguide.net/node/view/424

Bug Guide: Photo: http://bugguide.net/node/view/261771

Department of Biology, Samford University: Photo: http://www4.samford.edu/schools/artsci/biology/invert04f/index.htm

Jim Des Rivieres Moth Images: Photo: http://www.moths.ca/misc/index.html

Kansas State University Extension Entomology: http://www.entomology.ksu.edu/p.aspx?tabid=684

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spiny_oak_slug

 

References:

Borrer, Donald Joyce. 1987. A Field Guide to Insects: America North of Mexico. Houghton Mifflin. Boston, MA.

Covell Jr., Charles V. 2005. A Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America. Virginia Museum of Natural History. Martinsville, VA.

Eaton, Eric R. 2007. Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America. Houghton Mifflin Co., New York, NY.

Marshall, Stephen A. 2006. Insects: Their Natural History and Diversity. Firefly Books. Buffalo, NY.

Salsbury, Glenn A., Stephan C. White. 2000. Insect in Kansas. Kansas Department of Agriculture.

 

Submitted by: Anna A. Balthazor, November 2011

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