Dogbane Tiger Moth (Cycnia tenera)
The dogbane tiger moth is a member of the family of Erebidae moths found in North America. One of the unique traits of these moths worth mentioning is their supposed ability to emit high-frequency ultrasound signals through clicks that actually marr or jam the echolocation processes of the bats, preventing the latter from detecting and attacking these moths.
There has been several studies, yet nothing conclusive have been drawn yet.
Description and Identification
These caterpillars are covered with soft grayish-white hairs, giving them a fuzzy appearance.
Pupation takes place inside a gray cocoon made of discarded larval hairs.
Sexual Dimorphism: Present but not prominent.
Color and Appearance
When the wings are opened, they are white with a buttery yellow margin. When the wings are closed, the colors remain visible.
Average wingspan: 3-4 cm
Flight pattern: Erratic
Season: May to October
The translucent eggs are of a pale purple color. They are generally laid in clutches of 50-100 on the leaves of the host plant.
|Other names||Delicate cycnia|
|Distribution||North America, ranging from southern British Columbia to Nova Scotia in Canada to Arizona and Florida in the United States|
|Habitat||Meadows and roadsides|
|Lifespan of Adults||5-10 days|
|Host Plants||Milkweed and Indian hemp|
|Adult Diet||Does not feed|
Did You Know
- This moth’s interactions with predators have been of great interest, with birds and bats avoiding it. Besides emitting ultrasonic signals as mentioned above, they even have an extremely bitter taste, perhaps due to their diet, causing birds to avoid them.
- There are two sub-species of this moth – Cycnia tenera tenera and Cycnia tenera sciurus.