Subject: I found this moth!
Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
March 6, 2013 4:22 pm
Hello! I really love insects, especially moths. Where I live, we don’t get to see many cute or colourful moths besides the normal household ones, so I was quite shocked when I saw this little beauty roaming around my house! I’m not sure if this moth is native to this part of the world; I think it might be an introduced species. I’d be really happy if you helped me identify this handsome little fellow.
(Sorry about the low quality pics)
We believe we have correctly identified this as a Butterfly Moth, Paysandisia archon, and it is native to Argentina and it is represented on the Butterflies and Beetles of Argentina website. According to the Fauna of Paraguay website: “These are large, colourful and generally rare, day-flying moths with clubbed antennae – superficially resembling butterflies. Sensilla present on the antennal clubs. Large external ocelli and chaetosemata absent. Probocis often well-developed, occasionally reduced. Maxillary palpi small, labial palpi upturned. Epiphysis present and tibial spur formula 0-2-4. Sensory brushes occur on the pretarsus before the claws. Wings broad, venation little reduced. Wing coupling via frenulum-retinaculum system. CuP vein present or absent in both wings. Male genitalia with characteristically curved aedagus. Females typically with elongated ovipositor. (Scoble 1995).” Interestingly, we identified your moth very quickly in our own archive because we thought it resembled a Fruit Piercing Moth from the family Noctuidae (see Purdue University Entomology website), a mistake we made before when a photo of a Butterfly Moth was sent to us from France. When we learned its true identity, we discovered it was accidentally introduced to Europe from South America, and since the larvae are borers in palms, it is expected to be a problematic invasive exotic species in France if it becomes widely established.