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Before a Philadelphia gardener introduced China’s tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima) to America in the eighteenth century,  ancestors of this colorful moth (Atteva aurea) likely remained in their native Florida and other points south.

But as tree-of-heaven spread, so did the moths, assuming the tree’s name when their caterpillars adopted its leaves as a food source.

Here now, not far from where Ailanthus altissima was introduced over 200 years ago, the autumnal pattern of an Ailanthus webworm moth complements bright clusters of white snakeroot along Little Crum Creek.

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