Buck moth

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Buck moth
Hemileuca maia 0014195.jpg
Hemileuca maia male
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Saturniidae
Genus: Hemileuca
Species: H. maia
Binomial name
Hemileuca maia
Drury, 1773

The buck moth (Hemileuca maia)[1] is a common insect found in oak forests, stretching in the United States from the southeast to the northeast and as far west as Texas and Kansas.[2] The larvae typically emerge in a single generation in the spring. The larvae are covered in hollow spines that are attached to a poison sac. The poison can cause symptoms ranging from itching and burning sensations to nausea.[3]

Mature larvae enter the soil to pupate in late June and emerge between October and December as moths to mate and lay eggs. Eggs are typically laid in spiral clusters on oak twigs.[4] In Louisiana, particularly in cities such as Baton Rouge or New Orleans, where use of live oaks as street trees is extensive, the caterpillars can become a significant nuisance for humans.[5] The caterpillars of this moth can also be found in some areas of Virginia, such as the Goshen Scout Reservation, where they are infamous for stinging people going to a summer camp in the area.


External links[edit]

  • Beccaloni, G. W., Scoble, M. J., Robinson, G. S. & Pitkin, B. (Editors). 2003. The Global Lepidoptera Names Index (LepIndex). World Wide Web electronic publication. [1] (accessed 22 September 2007).
  • forestpests.org page on Buck moth
  • buck moth on the UF / IFAS Featured Creatures Web site