Ailanthus Webworm Moth

I had an overwhelming number of guesses (0) on the true identify of the insect I posted on Friday, so I might as well give out the answer.  With some help from Chris Werle (USDA-ARS), I narrowed it down to the Ailanthus Webworm Moth (http://www.uark.edu/ua/arthmuse/ailamoth.html).  Not harmful to the citrus tree that I found it on, but rather it tends to feed on flower nectar and even help in the pollination process.  So it is not an insect to be regarded lightly — it is one of the wonderful beneficial insects within the IPM spectrum (unless of course you have an Ailanthus altissima tree).

Ailanthus webworm moth

Ailanthus webworm moth

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2 responses

    • Wayne:
      I have not observed any in the area. The website plants.usda.gov reports it to be in northern Mississippi — I would be surprised if it limited to only that part of the state. Ailanthus altissima is in the Simaroubaceae family which is mainly a tropical tree family. Could possibly be other species that made their way to the coastal region, although Ailanthus seems to be the most logical suspect.

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