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REGAL MOTH (ROYAL MOTH) LIFE CYCLE
The yellowish eggs are oval in shape and can be laid singularly or in groups up to four. They are laid on the upper surface of leaves on the host plant, rather than on the bottom as many other moths do. They prefer to lay their eggs on nut trees, usually hickories and walnuts. In the south, they can be seen on sweet gum and persimmon, or sumacs if the others are not available. They hatch in 7-10 days.
to larva, or caterpillar stage
The larva, or caterpillar stage, is typically spotted singularly, but can still strip several branches of their host plant leaves. This stage lasts 37-42 days, during which they feed heavily on their host plant. During this time they “molt” four times. In the beginning they are small and yellow, but darken rapidly once they emerge. Before they pupate, they are a bright green color, have big black-tipped red horns, which gives them their name. Their appearance is to scare off predators, and, though they are prickly, they do not sting. They are quite harmless as well as easily handled just before they pupate.
They crawl down the stem of the host plant, then burrow into the ground. Here they pupate into a cocoon or chamber, for lack of a better word, approximately six inches below the surface of the earth. The pupa is dark brown to blackish in color.
They crawl down the stem of the host plant, then burrow into the ground. Here they pupate into a cocoon or chamber, for lack of a better word, approximately six inches below the surface of the earth. The pupa is dark brown to blackish in color. They remain in this state from one to two seasons.
To adult moth
This moth is the largest north of Mexico. They have a spectacular larva and a substantial pupa, as shown in these pictures.
The adult moth does not eat and lives but a short while, about a week. It seems their purpose is to reproduce. Does that mean that they only do this to provide food and nourishment for their predators?