Forester Moths

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Aug 1, 2012, 3:13:53 PM8/1/12
Hi all,
Recently I became aware of a little-known moth that might be fairly common.  Most of us know of the eight-spotted forester because it is a day-flying moth that resembles a butterfly.  There also is a six-spotted forester moth.  I encountered a caterpillar of this moth that was feeding on fireweed blossoms.  In my attempts to identify the caterpillar, I landed on the eight-spotted forester, because the caterpillars look so similar.  Fireweed is not listed as a food item for the eight-spotter, however.  So, I decided to check with Jim Sogaard.  After seeing several of my photos of several different individuals, he determined the caterpillar to be of the six-spotted forester, which is known to feed on fireweed.  The six-spotted is not illustrated, nor mentioned, in several of the common guidebooks.  Also, since fireweed is such a common plant in the Arrowhead, I wonder if we are mostly seeing the six-spotted forester.  By the way, the eight-spotted forester is Alypia octomaculata, the six-spotted is A. longtoni (also known as Langston's forrester).  Something to watch for!
Take care,
Jerry McCormick
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