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This Caterpillar Feeds on Orchids


Ostrich moth
Photo courtesy of Kenji Nishida

Scientific Name: Struthoscelis

Common Name: Ostrich moth

Friend or Pest (or both):  Potential pest.

Region and Diet?  This moth is native to Central and South America and its caterpillar feeds on orchids in the genus Sobralia.

Impact on agriculture? ARS scientists are constantly discovering and describing new species of insects like the ostrich moth. These efforts help document the diversity of life on our planet and identify potential threats to US agriculture and our natural habitats. Orchids occur naturally in all 50 states and the orchid market is one of the fastest growing segments of the floriculture industry with a value of over $5M per year. Read the abstract to learn more about the diversity and odd morphology of these moths.