Beautiful Wood Nymph
by Julie Jansen
Eudryas grata is known by its common name, beautiful wood nymph.
It seems like a bit of a joke considering this moth purposefully looks like bird poop but indeed the common name for this species is "beautiful wood nymph." Scientifically, however, it is Eudryas grata, one of three species in the genus. And yes, all three have evolved to camouflage themselves as droppings. The technique is strange but brilliant. Few (if any) creatures that would dine on moths would also dine on bird droppings, so the camouflage is an ingenious twist of evolution. While unfurled and in flight, the wings of the moth actually are quite beautiful with white and cream tones and symmetrical stripes of dappled rust and black coloring along the edges. Curled up at rest, however, and they take on another appearance entirely. Found across eastern North America, from Nova Scotia on down to Florida and west into Texas, the beautiful wood nymph can be spotted by anyone willing to take a closer look at what they think might be bird poop but could possibly be a living, breathing being.
This species is at home in forests, meadows and gardens. Look for adults on Virginia creeper and grapevines. They fly during the day and do not eat. They reserve their energy for finding a mate and reproducing. The caterpillars of this moth feast on the leaves of the aforementioned host plants in addition to other related vines.
So take a closer look at bird poop…it might just be a moth!
References: treehugger.com, insectidentification.org and mdc.mo.gov
Greetings Garden Friends,
This is probably my favorite time of the year – with the cool nights, low humidity, but warm sun. I’m looking forward to the colorful foliage that will be soon coming our way, and enjoying the additional pop of color that pumpkins and gourds, mums, and asters provide this time of the year. This is a great time to visit garden centers and pick up bargains on trees, shrubs, and perennials what will respond well to the current temperatures and moistur. Ornamental grasses also shine right now, as well as hardy annuals like zinnias and marigolds.
At the October meeting we will learn about Dish Garden Diversity from Joni Kappler, previous owner of Ashley’s Floral Expressions. You don’t want to miss it! This is the program rescheduled from September when we were rained out and had to meet by ZOOM. Thanks to all of you for your flexibility that morning! Crossing my fingers for a beautiful day Wednesday October 6th.
Our next Board Meeting will be at the home of Julie Barnes on Wednesday, October 13th. Mark your calendars!
Take time to enjoy these gorgeous fall days, feeling the cool breezes and soaking up the fabulous colorful display that nature offers us. Enjoy the time spent in the garden, strolling the neighborhood, or maybe on a trail out in the woods. The days will go by quickly, so take the time to appreciate them! Celebrate fall!
Kate Colville “Down to Earth and Diggin’ It…”