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Subject: I would *love* this bug identified!
Location: Arles, france, July 2012
October 30, 2012 5:42 pm
Dear Bugman
I would very much like this bug identified. It was taken in the town of Arles in the south of france in July 2012 around 11:30am.
I had been recording cicadas that holiday, but this didn’t look anything like one – so I thought it might be a moth, or even some kind of roach. It’s body is very fat, wings almost cardboard looking.
Signature: Chris Dooks

Sun Moth

Hi Chris,
Initially, this moth had us very confused.  It reminded us of the Underwing Moths, however, the antennae are more like a Hawkmoth, which it does not resemble.  We did some research and learned on the Papillons de Poitou-Charentes website that this is a member of a new family for our website, Castniidae, and it is
Paysandisia archon, or Vagabon des palmiers.  Since we cannot read French, our next stop was Wikipedia, which we rarely reference, and there we learned:  “Castniidae, or castniid moths, is a small family of moths with fewer than 200 species: The majority are Neotropical with some in Australia and a few in south-east Asia. These are medium-sized to very large moths, usually with drab, cryptically-marked forewings and brightly coloured hindwings. They have clubbed antennae and are day-flying, and are often mistaken for butterflies. Indeed some previous classification systems placed this family within the butterflies or skippers. The Neotropical species are commonly known as giant butterfly-moths, the Australian and Asian species as sun moths.”

Sun Moth

Your photos are quite wonderful, with the underside view providing a hint of the markings on the underwings.  The Fauna of Paraguay website has images of some tropical species that really do resemble butterflies.

Sun Moth

I am absolutely ecstatic that you have been able to do this, thank you so much for your time, effort and insight.
I am making an LP about French Cicadas, and I will send you a link to the digital download for free when I’ve finished.
Chris Dooks :-)

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination