Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Hemileuca lucina Hy. Edwards, 1887
* phylogenetic sequence #225025
Very local in boggy or wet meadows in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts (Covell, 1984).(1)
Adults emerge in late September (Stamp & Bowers, 1990).
Covell states that the larval hosts are broadleaf spiraea and oaks.(1)
Stamp & Bowers, however, report that they are specialists on white meadowsweet
). BugGuide comments
indicate that later instar larvae are known to feed on oaks and other plants.
In September egg masses are deposited around stems of the host. Eggs hatch in May about one week after the host plant buds. Larvae feed gregariously in progressively smaller groups as they get larger individually. By late June the mature larvae tunnel underground to pupate and remain there throughout the summer. Adults emerge in late September to breed and deposit eggs. This species is subject to boom and bust cycles depending largely on the ammount of sunshine after their early-spring emergence. Larvae that devolop faster during good weather avoid the predation of stink bugs and parasitaztion by wasps and flies that appear later in the spring (Stamp & Bowers, 1990).
Adults of this species always emerge earlier than Buck Moth (H. maia).
Caterpillars have stinging hairs and can deliver a painful sting if handled.
Covell Jr., C. V. 1984. A field guide to the moths of eastern North America. p.48, pl.9(6)
Ferguson, D. C. 1971. Moths of America North of Mexico. Fascicle 20.2a: p.121, pl.8.9-11
Stamp, N. E. & M. D. Bowers 1990. Body temperature, behavior, and growth of early-spring caterpillars (Hemileuca lucina
: Saturniidae). Jl. Lep. Soc. 44(3): 143-155
Stamp, N. E. & M. D. Bowers 1990. Parasitism of New England buck moth caterpillars (Hemileuca lucina
: Saturniidae) by Tachinid flies. Jl. Lep. Soc. 44(3): 199-200