Squash Vine Borer Moth (Melittia cucurbitae)
The squash vine borer moth is a member of the family of clearwing moths. They are often mistaken for wasps because of their movements.
Description and Identification
The caterpillars are white and have dark heads. They have three pairs of legs, five pairs of pro-legs, and are covered with bristles. Initially, they are 1.5-2 mm in length, but by the final instar, they reach 25mm.
Pupae are mahogany brown, 14 mm long, and pupate inside a silk cocoon.
Sexual Dimorphism: Present.
Adult males are smaller and more colorful than females.
Color and Appearance
The adults are 16 mm long, resemble a wasp, and have an abdomen covered with orange to reddish hairs and black dorsal dots.
Forewing: When open, scales can be seen on them, giving the wings a metallic green or black sheen. This remains even when the wings are closed.
Hindwing: When open, the wings can be seen lacking scales, making them look transparent. When closed, the wings are hidden completely.
Average wingspan: 25 to 38 mm
Flight pattern: Erratic and diurnal
Season: mid-May to late October
They are dark-reddish brown and are flat but oval. Their dimensions are 1 mm in length and 0.85 mm in width.
|Distribution||North America; including southeastern Canada, Florida, eastern U.S., and Mexico|
|Lifespan of Adults||Females: 5 days; Males: 3 days|
|Host Plants||Primarily summer squash and pumpkin; also, cantaloupe, cucumber, Mexican gourd, and watermelon|
|Adult Diet||Nectar from flowers|
Did You Know
- American entomologist Thaddeus William Harris first described this species in 1828.