Dryocampa rubicunda — “Rosy maple moth”

Dryocampa rubicunda, also known as the rosy maple moth, is one of the smallest Saturniidae in the world, and no doubt it is also the cutest. Not is their wingspan around 2 to 3 centimetres, they are also fluffy and pink.A wonderful specimen of the rosy maple moth (Dryocampa rubicunda)

  • Difficulty rating: Average (Not the easiest but not hard. But you will need Acer sp.!)
  • Rearing difficulty: 5/10 (From egg to pupa)
  • Pairing difficulty: 6/10 (Archieving copulations)
  • Host plants: Acer sp. (Acer saccharum prefered)
  •  Natural range:  North America and Canada
  • Polyphagous:  Yes, but not very, they are picky eaters. (It specialises itself in eating maple tree [Acer sp.] – they are also reported to eat oak in the wild and in captivity [Quercus] but with bad result. It will try to feed on most species of Acer sp., but it prefers Acer saccharum by far). 
  • Generations: Univoltine or bivoltine (usually only one generation a year,  second generation is possible in captivity and in warm years in the wild) 
  • Family: Saturniidae (silkmoths)
  • Pupation: Subterranean (burrows in soil)
  • Prefered climate: Temperate 
  • Special notes: They seem to be more picky than  most Saturniidae, and trying anything else than Acer saccharum is not the best idea (though other Acer species may work)
  • Wingspan: 15 – 35mm (Extremely small for Saturniidae)
  • Binomial name: Dryocampa rubicunda (Fabricius 1793)
  • Health warning: No

Dryocampa rubicunda is a moth  that occurs in North America and parts of Canada. The favorite host plant of Dryocampa rubicunda is maple, with sugar maple (Acer saccharum) yielding good result in captivity.  Larvae of Dryocampa rubicunda are gregarious – they feed and travel in groups. From my experience they do need a little ventilation and are best reared sleeved or caged. I had great succes sleeving them on Acer saccharum in my garden. It seems they are easily able to handle cold and even rain, as long as they are properly ventilated.Dryocampa rubicunda being sleeved on Acer saccharum in my garden 

Despite their small size, they still take about the same time as most medium sized Saturniidae to develop. After feeding for several weeks, the larvae will burrow in the soil and pupate. Dryocampa rubicunda does overwinter, but they can have multiple generations a year depending on the temperature and daylength.

They can also have very yellow to whitish/pale forms, though these are less common than the pink colour forms.

The caterpillars are green and range from nearly white to lime green and have dark stripes running over the length of their body, also giving them the common name “striped mapleworms”. The adult moths, especially the males, are very hyperactive and short lived.Fully grown caterpillars of Dryocampa rubicunda

While the adult caterpillars are more solitary in nature, the young larvae show group behaviour and perform best if bred in larger groups.The young larvae of  Dryocampa rubicunda showing gregarious behaviour

The adults will pair briefly at night. This species has also been reported to feed on oak (Quercus); though rearing this species on oak may be a possibility, I would not recommend it for optimal result, only if you are somehow unable to locate maple tree.So small and fluffy! Dryocampa rubicunda must be the cutest moth I’ve bred.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA A photo I couldn’t resist making.. because they look like candy!

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The aim of this website is to provide information about many species of moths and butterflies around the world, with a slight focus on rearing them in captivity.

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