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Identifying Moths
Irene Wilk


Each summer the Toronto Entomologists' Association holds a public Moth Night event in High Park in partnership with the High Park Nature Centre and High Park Nature.


More about High Park Moth Night including consolidated sightings list.

Moth Gallery - photos of some of the moths that have been identified in High Park.

Mea skinnerella - 1st for Ontario (2015)
David Beadle

To learn more about moths:

Caterpillar sp.
Karen Yukich
Polyphemus Caterpillar (Antheraea polyphemus) one of our largest and most beautiful silk moths
Marius Locke
This uncommon and striking "micro" moth, Euclemensia bassettella, was spotted at the July 5, 2011 Moth Night.
David Beadle
Abott's Sphinx Caterpillar Feeds on grapeleaves, and marked to look like grapes!
Jon Hayes

Fall Cankerworm Moth (male)
Karen Yukich

Fall Cankerworm (Alsophila pometaria), a native insect, can be one of the most damaging defoliators of Toronto’s urban forest. Members of this family are often called inchworms, loopers or spanworms, since the caterpillars loop when they walk.

Watch for the grey male moths in late fall when they fly in search of the flightless females waiting on tree trunks.

Fall Cankerworm Factsheet (pdf)

More information


Gypsy Moths

Why were there so many dead gypsy moth caterpillars in 2012? See Factsheet and City website

Karen Yukich

This introduced insect is a major pest in North America. The caterpillar (larva stage) eats the leaves of trees, making them more susceptible to disease and damage from other sources.

The City’s 2012 survey of egg masses suggested that some areas of Toronto would see severe defoliation in 2013. There are over 300 trees identified with high numbers of egg masses (>15). These were almost exclusively located in the manicured areas.

Gypsy Moth (female on egg mass)
Karen Yukich

Forestry conducted a gypsy moth control program in 2013 in High Park. Since aerial spraying could harm other moths and butterflies, a variety of control techniques were used instead.

The City's integrated control program includes vacuum removal of egg masses, ground spraying with Btk (a subspecies of a naturally-occurring bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis), and where necessary injection with TreeAzin. Aerial spraying is not being used in High Park and ground spraying is being kept to a minimum because of other moths and butterflies (e.g. hairstreaks) which have a similar occurrence and lifecycle.

See also: City Website


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Content last modified on August 13, 2016, at 11:20 PM EST