Poison Hemlock Moth
Identification: European. First recorded in the New York in 1973.
Head: Head white. Nose cone (palpi) long, curving past top of head; mottled with brown and white. Tips sharply pointed.
Antenna: Thick, dark brown, reaching to beyond mid-wing.
Thorax: White; light brown raised tuft at tip.
Wings: Base of wings white, white continuing down outer (costa) margin to mid-wing, somewhat checkered with brown. Rest of wing mottled light to medium brown with some white scaling, and with a large dark patch at mid-wing, extending from outer margin to center of wing. Patch is blackish, with a brick red area along the inner margin of patch. Two small dark spots above the patch and 3 dark spots along wing tip. Fringe light brown, with a darker brown line along wing margin. Hindwing gray-white.
Legs: Light brown covered with white scales. Legs striped.
Size: 8 to 10 mm long. Wingspan 17 to 19 mm.
Habitat: Field edges, roadsides, waste places.
Food: Poison Hemlock plant Conium maculatum introduced from Europe in the 1800’s.
Flight Time: April to August.
Life Cycle: Females lay eggs on their only food plant Poison Hemlock. Larva web leaves into a tube, or sometimes webs around the flowers. Caterpillar yellow, then turning pale green with darker lines and black dots when mature. Head yellowish. Pupate in late spring to early summer. Adults overwinter; attracted to lights.
Predator: Mason Wasp Euodynerus foraminatus provision its nests with the larvae.
Comments: Ontario (Pohl 2018). Essex County.
For information on synonyms, references and type specimens see next page