Pitcherplant Moth Life Cycle

Pale Shoulder Pitcherplant Moths (Exyra semicrocea)
in Whitetop Pitcherplant (Sarracenia leucophylla)
The adult females will lay eggs inside young pitchers.

After a couple weeks, the Pale Shoulder Pitcherplant Looper has woven webbing across the mouth of the pitcher, which effectively excludes many potential predators.

Opening a hole in the side of the pitcher reveals the moth larva where it has been grazing on the inner layers of plant tissue, but leaving the pitcher structure largely intact with one hole below to drain the pitcherplant's fluid.  The larva will pupate inside the pitcher over winter and emerge as an adult moth the following spring.

After noticing the adult moths perching inside the pitcherplant but not becoming meals for the plant as do most insects that enter, I became curious about them.  I found some good information on larval identification in Owlet Caterpillars of Eastern North America.

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