Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Right time, right place

Yesterday afternoon, I just happened to step into the Meadow so I could check for critters on a blooming antelope-horn. Look what I found! A gorgeous clearwing moth! Moth, you say? Yes! I shared my find on iNaturalist, where my species count is now up to 935. This is a squash vine borer (Melittia cucurbitae). I originally IDed it as M. calabaza but was corrected by another iNat user who knows his clearwings. You can compare the two species here and here. The difference is subtle and found in the abdominal segments. "Melittia cucurbitae has a dark olive green second abdominal segement, distinguished from Melittia calabaza, which as some orange on the second abdominal segment," according to

Either way, my veggie garden friends have no use for this insect. That's because, as its common name implies, the larvae bore into squash stems and eat the heck out of them. "I hate those things," Pam says about the ugly caterpillars (see M. cucurbitae larvae here). "I can't grow a decent squash any more." 


Anonymous said...

You are seeing these already? Noo! Not my squash!! Thank you for the warning. I'm from the Fredericksburg area and I will make sure to protect my plants.
They are pretty insects though.

Sheryl Smith-Rodgers said...

Good luck!!!!

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