Melonworm Moth (Diaphania hyalinata)
The melonworm moth is a member of the family of grass moths. They are easily recognizable from the bushy growth at the end of their abdomen.
Description and Identification
The caterpillars are initially colorless but soon become a pale yellow-green, and at the final stage, two distinct white lines can be observed running down its body. These larvae go through five instars. To give themselves shade, they construct a silken structure underneath the leaves of the host plant. The larval stage lasts for around 14 days.
The color of the pupa tends to be either light or dark brown. Pupation occurs inside a cocoon made of silk with a leaf or two folded in. Pupae tend to be 1.2-1.5 cm long and 0.3-0.4 cm wide. This stage lasts for 9-10 days.
Sexual Dimorphism: Present but not prominent.
Color and Appearance
At the end of their abdomen, a bushy hair pencil is observed.
When the wings are opened, the center is an iridescent white color, with a brown border surrounding it. When the wings are closed, the colors remain observable.
Average wingspan: 2.5 cm
Flight pattern: Consistent
Season: October to November
Eggs tend to be initially greenish or white but become yellow later on. They are oval, flat, and are deposited in small clusters. These eggs are 0.07×0.06 cm in measurement.
|Distribution||Central and South America and the Caribbean|
|Habitat||Cultivated land and fields|
|Lifespan of Adults||Around 1 week|
|Host Plants||Cucurbit plants like cucumber, melon, and squash|
|Adult Diet||Does not feed|
Did You Know
- Swedish zoologist Carl Linnaeus first described this moth in 1767.