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Outdoor Radio: The Winter Flight Of The Bruce Spanworm Moth

You don't expect to see a moth in November, but these winter moths have adapted to thrive in the cold. The operophtera bruceata, or the Bruce Spanworm moth, spends the summer as a catapiller in the canopy of hardwood trees. They eat and eat, getting bigger until they fall down into the leaf litter and pupate. As the weather turns cold, around the end of October, they emerge as adults. This comes in very handy for these moths, because most of the birds have migrated away and there are very few predators left.

In this episode of Outdoor Radio, Kent McFarland and Sara Zahendra are hiking back and forth on a hillside, waiting for the morning sun to warm up the air so they can spot a flying male Bruce Spanworm moth. The females are wingless. They hang out on the tree trunks, attracting a mate and laying their eggs in the crevices of the bark.

Listen to learn how to recognize these moths and discover why only the males have wings and visit these links to learn ever more:

Outdoor Radio is produced in collaboration with the Vermont Center For Ecostudies.

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