March of the "Worms" Across Riggs Road in Sun Lakes

The Riggs Road Worm

The Riggs Road Worm

Every year about this time you’ll see a herd of what look like fat worms scurrying (do worm’s scurry?) in a wide marching band formation (up to 2-3 feet wide) across Riggs Rd just west of Sun Lakes.  Don’t start looking for the mother ship, this is not a sci-fi invasion.  These little creatures are actually moth Larvae (eww…let’s call them caterpillars) that morph into the largest flying insect in the desert, the Sphinx Moth which can have a wingspan between 5″-8″!

I’m not sure why these caterpillars decide to migrate from one side of the road to the other.  (I mean, why did the chicken do it?  We may never know.)  Could be the rains have flooded their neighborhood. Maybe they’re looking for new dining opportunities or maybe they’re just bored. 

These caterpillers burrow underground to begin their metamorphosis into the adult Sphynx Moth and emerge from the ground in all their mothwing glory to begin the mating process.  Females can lay up to 1000 eggs on the undersides of food plants (another good reason to wash those veggies!)  Eggs hatch is just a few days and the female AND MALE moths die after their reproductive process has been completed.  How’s that for gratitude. 

So, next time you come upon the “March of the Worms”, check them out. Pick one up with a stick and put it in a large jar with holes in the lid and some leaves for it to eat and then….oh..uh…sorry, I regressed to my childhood for just a sec.   Anyway, as I was saying, these caterpillars won’t hurt you.  BUT BE WARNED…if you make them mad they’ll raise up their itty bitty horned heads and spit a thick green gunk at you.  They’re not poisonous…so go ahead…spit back!


For more Information visit  Sun Lakes Arizona Real Estate.  This information was provided by Amy Jones, a multi-million dollar top producing Realtor with RE/MAX Elite. Amy specializes in residential, vacation homes & cabins, as well as retirement communities in the communities of Ahwatukee, Chandler, Fountain Hills, Gilbert, Maricopa, Mesa, Paradise Valley, Queen Creek, Scottsdale, Sun Lakes, Tempe and the White Mountains communities of Pinetop/Lakeside & Show Low.  Search the Arizona MLS.