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Spotted in Pocahontas: Insect fashion show

The Pocahontas Times

The photo, taken on Top of Allegheny Mountain, shows an Ailanthus Webworm Moth and a Monarch butterfly feeding on goldenrod nectar.
(Photo and info courtesy of Richard Laska)

MARLINTON, W.Va. — Last week The Pocahontas Times asked about a spotted bug found on Thistlewood Farm. This September, one of those orange and black bugs showed up in the company of a cloud of migrating butterflies.  Now called the “Ailanthus Webworm Moth,” it looks like a beetle and flies like a wasp.

The moth is native to South Florida and Central America.  It was unknown north of that range until it adapted to feed on Ailanthus – The Tree-of-Heaven — an invasive plant from China which has become a nuisance in many areas.  Since it feeds on an unwanted plant, this moth is a friend.

The Pocahontas Times thanks Merrilyn Taylor, Ed Saugstad, Loyal Sharp, Barb Baechtel, Susan Morrison, David Smith and John Jett, for being a part of the “investigation” into that little spotted bug.

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