Wasp Mimic Moth from BVI
January 27, 2010
I think this may be a Spotted Oleander Caterpillar Moth, Empyreuma affinis, but with much darker upper wings and black body compared to the more familiar examples with bright red wings and iridescent blue body. Is this perhaps the male?
Necker Island, British Virgin Islands
We agree that this is some species of Arctiid, but we do not believe it to be the Spotted Oleander Caterpillar Moth, despite the similarities. Perhaps it is another species in the same genus. We will write to Julian Donahue, and expert in the Arctiids, to see if he is able to provide an identification.
A recent revision of Empyreuma has made E. affinis (type locality: Cuba) and some other named taxa synonyms of E. pugione (type locality St. Thomas, Virgin Islands). E. pugione is the only species of Empyreuma known from the Virgin Islands.
The only other species currently placed in Empyreuma is E. anassa from Jamaica.
Julian P. Donahue
Update: February 4, 2010
I read Julian Donahue’s comments and compared an image of Empyreuma anassa at
with my photo. They appear to be the same species. So, if that is so, E. pugione = E. affinis is not the only Empyreuma known from the Virgin Islands.
We love that the Moths of Jamaica website has the same background color as our own website. When we first clicked the link, we thought we went to What’s That Bug? for a brief moment.