Rosy Maple Moth Facts - Fact Animal (2024)

Rosy Maple Moth Profile

When it comes to appearance, few moths are as easily identified as the rosy maple moth. Clad in neon pink and yellow, these woolly moths can be found in a range of areas along the east coast of North America.

As nocturnal herbivores, they’re often found in temperate deciduous forests during the more pleasant months where they can be observed living among some of their favorite trees (maple trees, which is how they’ve earned their name!)

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Rosy Maple Moth Facts Overview

Habitat:Temperate deciduous forests
Location:Eastern United States & Canada
Lifespan:2 – 9 months
Size:3.2 – 5cm wingspan
Weight:0.16 oz (5 g)
Color:Yellow & pink
Diet:Maple & oak leaves
Predators:Blue jays, black-capped chickadees, & tufted titmice
Top Speed:5-10kph
No. of Species:
Conservation Status:
No special status/not evaluated

While they’re known most commonly as the rosy maple moth, these insects have a few other names too – some of which depend on their stage of life.

Rosy maple moths are distinguishable by their incredible bright pink and yellow color and wooldy body. But their color can vary to more cream and and white.

The IUCN Red List has listed the Rosy Maple Moth as species Not Evaluated. However, habitat loss is a concerning threat.

Interesting Rosy Maple Moth Facts

1. Adult rosy maple moths don’t have mouths

While it may be shocking, rosy maple moths don’t have mouths – and many other adult species of insects are the exact same. 1

And, if you’re wondering how they eat, don’t worry – they don’t! Rosy maple moths get to enjoy a sampling of different maple and oak leaves as larvae. However, once they grow into their adult moth forms, they lose their mouth and no longer eat. At this stage in their life, they don’t have much longer to live, and their main focus in breeding.

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2. They can lay up to 200 eggs in a single breeding season

While it may be sad that these amazing moths are only alive for a short time, they spend the remainder of their lives as adults ensuring that the species as a whole will be around for a while.

In fact, a single female rosy maple moth can lay as many as 200 eggs in just one breeding season! This means that, if each egg were to hatch into a female rosy maple moth, in just a few months, they would lay another 40,000 eggs.

3. They are threatened by habitat loss

Despite not being an endangered or even threatened species, the rosy maple moth is still in trouble. Deforestation occurs when trees and forests are cut down in order to make room for something else, usually towns or farms.

Since the rosy maple moth depends on specific species of trees for survival, habitat loss is posing a major threat to them. This is because it not only removes their homes but also their breeding and feeding areas.

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4. Rosy maple moths cannot hear

But that can still communicate in many other ways! Since rosy maple moths don’t have auditory receptors, they’re unable to receive and interpret sound waves in the way that other animals, like humans, can.

Instead, these moths use their entire body to help interact with their surroundings. This can include their antennae, palps, setae, and legs. Setae are small, sensitive hairs found on the moths that can receive information from the environment and transmit it to the brain.

5. They start in a different form

Like many other species of moths and even other types of insects, you won’t find a baby rosy maple moth flying around. Instead, they spend the first few weeks of their lives with an entirely different appearance as the green striped maple worm (or greenstriped mapleworm)!

As the maple worm gets older and goes through metamorphosis, it’ll trade its green stripes for the moth’s iconic bright pink and yellow markings.

6. Out of all the silk moth, the rosy maple moths are the smallest

Despite being known as the “great silk moth”, rosy maple moths are actually the smallest silk moth around. In fact, even female rosy maple moths, which are larger than their male counterparts, still aren’t larger enough to compete with some of the other silk moth species around.

The largest silk moth can be as large as 16 centimeters. That’s more than five times the size of even the largest rosy maple moths!

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7. As larvae, they can deliver a dangerous sting!

Even though they’re harmless as adults (mostly due to the fact they have no true mouth to bite you with), as larvae, the rosy maple moth can deliver a venomous sting! While it’s not enough to be fatal for most humans, their small spines can be painful if handled the wrong way, which is why it’s always best to observe unknown species from afar – even insects like these.

Spiny insects with poison tips can also be dangerous for pets, especially if they accidentally eat one!

8. Their bright coloring is camouflage

When it comes to staying hidden in nature, it may seem that the rosy maple moth’s bright yellow and pink would be the least helpful color pattern. After all, other insects are able to disguise themselves in less conspicuous ways, such as blending in with dried leaves and sticks.

However, due to the fact that the maple moth has made its home among many varieties of flowering trees, having a dark pattern would actually make them stand out more! Their pink and yellow splotches fit in perfectly with flowers, helping protect them from predators like blue jays and titmice

Plus, the rosy maple moth isn’t the only North American moth you can find with this eye-catching pattern. The primrose moth (Schinia florida) also flaunts a vibrant and similar color scheme, helping us to better understand how colors are used for protection. 2

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Rosy Maple Moth Fact-File Summary

Scientific Classification

Species Name:
Dryocampa Rubicunda

Fact Sources & References

  1. Biokids. “Rosy maple moth.” Accessed February 6, 2022.
  2. Clemson Home and Garden Information Center. “Rosy Maple Moth (Dryocampa Rubicunda).” Accessed February 7, 2022
Rosy Maple Moth Facts - Fact Animal (2024)


How long do rosy maple moths live? ›

Lifespan of rosy maple moths ranges from 2 to 9 months in the wild if overwinter pupation occurs. Typically, rosy maple moths raised in captivity have a shorter lifespan of around 2 to 5 months. In the wild, much of their life is spent overwintering in the pupal stage.

What animal eats the rosy maple moth? ›

The rosy maple moth and its larvae serve as a food source for many birds, including tufted titmice, blue jays, and black-capped chickadees. Other predators include parasitic flies and wasps, and predatory beetles.

What attracts rosy maple moth? ›

The adults emerge the following spring. In the Northeast, they fly from May to August, reproducing only once. Like many moths, rosy maples are attracted to lights at night.

What color are maple moths? ›

The rosy maple moth has a variable coloration. In most cases, it is white, yellow, or cream-colored, with some amount of pink at the outer and inner portions of the wings.

Does the rosy maple moth eat? ›

Dryocampa rubicunda

Males have bushier antennae than females. As the name implies, rosy maple moths mainly feed on Maples, particularly Red Maple, Silver Maple, and Sugar Maple. However, the adult moths do not eat.

What moth lives the longest? ›

The longest-living species of moth is the Gynaephora Groenlandica, or Arctic Wooly Bear Moth. This unique moth lives on Ellesmere Island in the Canadian arctic. Sometimes, the Wooly Bear Moth can have a lifespan that lasts up to 7 years.

How many eggs do rosy maple moths lay? ›

Besides this, rosy maple moths exhibit little parental care, as the female leaves after depositing her eggs. Females typically lay around 150 to 200 eggs in groups of 10 to 40 on the underside of leaves of maple trees and occasionally oak trees.

Are maple moths rare? ›

💛💖Rosy Maple Moth💖💛 While they are not endangered, rosy maple moths are quite rare. They are only found in North America, and even then they are mostly concentrated in the eastern United States.

Are rosy maple moths bad? ›

Even though they're harmless as adults (mostly due to the fact they have no true mouth to bite you with), as larvae, the rosy maple moth can deliver a venomous sting!

Do rosy maple moths like light? ›

Rosy Maple Moth - Dryocampa rubicunda - BugGuide.Net. A pink and yellow moth attracted to blacklight, moved to natural lighting for photos.

Is the rosy maple moth real? ›

Rosy maple moth adults have brilliant pink and bright yellow markings. Their legs are reddish-pink and the feathery antennae are a golden coloration. Males are slightly smaller than females. The wingspan of female rosy maple moths can get up to two inches in length.

Is a rosy maple moth a silk moth? ›

Dryocampa rubicunda, the rosy maple moth, is a small North American moth in the family Saturniidae, also known as the great silk moths.

Why do rosy maple moths vibrate? ›

Moths vibrate or shiver to regulate their body temperature, and also to warm up their wing muscles before flight. Moths are cold-blooded, so their bodies don't automatically adjust their temperature according to the environment; they must do it manually.

How do rosy maple moths live? ›

Habitat. Rosy maple moths inhabit temperate deciduous forests of eastern North America. They are most often associated with red maples (Acer rubrum), sugar maples (Acer saccharum), silver maples (Acer saccharinum), turkey oaks (Quercus laevis) and box elder maples (Acer negundo).

Can you keep a rosy maple moth as a pet? ›

Known for their charming and vibrant looks, the caterpillars of these pink-and-yellow creatures also have a distinct identity with the individual name 'greenstriped mapleworm'. The moths are also a popular choice in the pet trade.

What is the lifespan of a moth? ›

Most adult moths live for short periods, from a few days to a few weeks depending on the species, although moths that hibernate through the winter live for months. Many moths feed on nectar just like butterflies, but some species of short-lived moths do not feed at all.

Are rosy maple moths beneficial? ›

There are no known positive economic impacts of rosy maple moths on humans.

How rare is a rosy maple moth? ›

Despite not being an endangered or even threatened species, the rosy maple moth is still in trouble. Deforestation occurs when trees and forests are cut down in order to make room for something else, usually towns or farms.

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