Meet the cutest yellow and pink moth

Rosy maple moths are the cutest and smallest moths out there, with fuzzy texture, pink and yellow markings, and a whimsical appearance.

Rosy Maple species summary

Scientific NameDryocampa Rubicunda
Family NameSaturniidae
HabitatDeciduous forests
RangeNorth America
Host PlantsMaple and oak trees
Moth DescriptionPink and yellow patterns on wings
Caterpillar DescriptionPale yellow body when hatched, yellow-green in last instar

What kind of moths are pink and yellow?

yellow and pink moth
Yellow and pink moth

While its common name is the Rosy maple moth, its scientific name is Dryocampa Rubicunda. It is in the Saturniidae family, which is known as the silk moth family. It got its common name from its rosy pink color and its preferred habitat.

The Rosy maple moth is bright yellow and pink. It is a furry creature that is often found on maple trees. The moth’s wings can range from purple to pink and white to creamy white. Its wings have a white or yellow triangular stripe across them.

Its head and body are furry and yellow. Its antennae and legs are a light red-pink color. Male Rosy maple moths have a wingspan of 1.26 inches to 1.73 inches (3.2 cm to 4.4 cm), while females have a bit smaller wingspan.

Besides Rosy maple, there are several other subspecies of pink moths. The Elephant hawk moth has a similar pink hue but is not furry and has a dark gold color instead of a vibrant yellow color.

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A smaller pink moth is the Primrose moth, with pink markings all over its forewings. While the Primrose moth is similar in color to the Rosy maple moth, the pattern on its wings is different. The Primrose Moth is bright pink with a yellow subterminal line.

Rosy maple moth caterpillar description

Rosy maple caterpillar
Rosy maple caterpillar

The Rosy maple moth caterpillar, which is commonly called a Green striped mapleworm, changes colors as it develops. When it hatches, it has a black head and a pale yellow body with green or black stripes. Its legs are black with yellow tips.

In its last instar, its head can range from a beige to red color. Its body is yellow-green with seven dark green lines. The adult caterpillar also has two rows of spines along its sides and black horns on its back.

What is the lifespan of a rosy maple moth?

The Rosy maple moth typically lives about 2 to 9 months. Much of that time is spent in the pupa stage of their life cycle while overwintering. When in captivity, Rosy maple moths have a lifespan of around 2 to 5 months.

Favorite host plants and food plants

The Rosy maple moth mainly feeds and lays eggs on maple trees. It particularly prefers:

  • Red maple
  • Silver maple
  • Sugar maple trees
  • Oak trees

Adult Rosy maple moths do not feed, but the trees that females lay eggs on become food for the larvae. The moth’s caterpillars feed on the underside of maple leaves and oak leaves.

Where does a rosy maple moth live?

It predominantly lives in deciduous forests of eastern North America. Rosy maple moths can be found in suburban areas if their host trees are present there.

The Rosy maple moth is native to North America and can be found in most US states. The majority of this type of moth lives in Florida. In the farthest north, they live in Canada (Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island). Their range extends west to:

  • Michigan
  • Indiana
  • Texas
  • Kansas
  • Nebraska
  • Missouri

Is the rosy maple moth rare?

The Rosy maple moth is not rare, but it does suffer from habitat loss. It relies on specific trees for survival, so deforestation poses a major threat. Deforestation not only removes its home, but it also removes its breeding and feeding areas.

Is the rosy maple moth destructive?

The Rosy Maple Moth can be destructive to maple trees. The larvae cause damage to trees since a single host tree may have hundreds of caterpillars feeding on it. This feeding causes the tree to become partially or entirely bare. Although larval feeding generally does not cause long-term damage, the result of feeding may be aesthetically displeasing.

Are pink and yellow moths poisonous?

Adult Rosy maple moths are harmless, but caterpillars can produce a venomous sting. Luckily, the sting is not fatal to humans, but it can be painful. The toxins in their spines can cause skin irritation. These caterpillars are more dangerous to pets than to humans. Their poison tips are especially harmful if pets eat them.

Still, the bright colors of Rosy maple moths warn predators that they are poisonous. Predators get tricked by the colors of pink and yellow moths. The vibrant colors trick birds into believing they are not palatable.

Yellow and pink moth symbolism

A yellow and pink moth is a symbol of self-love. Its vivid colors are a representation of seeking light during darkness and finding joy in hard times. People associate yellow and pink moths with this meaning since the color pink commonly resembles love. 

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