From spring into fall, leopards stalk our backyards. I am not talking about the feline variety. I am referring to the giant leopard moth (Hypercompe scribonia).
However, like the predator, that roams the wilds of Asia and Africa, the giant leopard moth also has spots. The spots on its wings vary from black to blue. Some spots might even have white centers. Once you see one, you will have no problem understanding why we call it the leopard moth. Nevertheless, I think you will agree with me that it would have been more appropriate to name it the Dalmatian moth.
The female leopard moth is smaller than the male. Males have a wingspan of 3.6 inches whereas the female’s wingspan is only 2.25 inches.
The leopard moth has a variety of host plants including male, cherry, willow, sunflower, cabbage.
If you want to see one of these handsome moths, the best strategy you can employ is to have the moth come to you. Fortunately, leopard moths are attracted to lights. Armed with that tidbit of information, just pull up a lawn chair near an outside light and wait. (Lights with shorter wavelengths work best.) If there is a giant leopard moth nearby there is a good chance it will appear.
When a leopard moth finally shows up chances are will be a male. For some reason, females do not visit lights as often as the males.
As you might expect, some folks will attract more leopard moths than others will. I have never been able to attract more than one leopard moth at a time to my lights, nevertheless, some homeowners report seeing upwards of a dozen or more.