Sunday, November 23, 2008

Green Cloverworm Moth (Hypena scabra)

Green Cloverworm Moth (Hypena scabra)

While certainly not the most beautiful moth ever attracted to my porch light, the Green Cloverworm Moth is abundant, especially late in the season. On several warmer evenings in late fall, I saw dozens of these moths and only one or two specimens of other species.

Life Cycle (from Bugwood Wiki): Green cloverworms overwinter either as pupae or adults. Moths become active in the spring and lay their eggs on the undersides of leaves. Eggs hatch in less than a week and larvae may feed for four weeks. Larvae burrow into litter or soil and pupate. Four or more generations occur annually in Georgia (and other southern states).

BugGuide says: Adults fly from March to November, or all year in warmer regions, but are most common in late summer and fall.

Green Cloverworm Moths are found in fields, gardens, wood edges and waste places. Hosts plants include alfalfa, beans, clover, cowpea, soybean, strawberry, vetch, many common weeds, and other legumes. All sources agree that Green Cloverworms seldom occur in large enough numbers to reduce the yield of a crop materially.

While the basic pattern remains the same, the coloration of Green Cloverworm Moths can vary greatly. The Moth Photographers Group has photographs of several different specimens showing this color variation.

(Thanks to John Maxwell on BugGuide for this ID.)