Pink and black moth from Brazil
Location: Araraquara, Sao Paulo, Brazil
October 2, 2011 11:24 am
I have a voracious eater coming to visit my little garden in Araraquara, SP, Brazil. The larva is black with white spots and sparse black hair. It’s head is red. (I’ll try to get a photo the next time I see them.) They ate all of one type of plant in my garden (I don’t know what it is/was because they ate it all before I could see it bloom. I suspect it’s an iris or tulip of some sort. Bulbs! They’re growing back now.) I gathered a couple of the pupa and hung on to them until they emerged into this very awesome little moth. All of this has happened in our winter months.
ps. Sorry if this is a re-post! I felt my initial images were too large. 🙁
Signature: – Irisless Gardener
Dear Irisless Gardener,
We recognized this moth as a submission from several years ago, but we could not remember its identity. We searched our archives and found the Spanish Moth. Here is what Karl, who frequently contributes to our website had to add: “This is actually an Owlet Moth ((Noctuidae: Hadeninae), specifically a Spanish Moth (Xanthopastis timais). The species is extremely widespread, ranging from New York to Argentina and including all of the Caribbean. The background color ranges from white to bright pink but the rest of the markings are fairly consistent and distinctive.” The University of Florida Featured Creatures posting states: “Host Plants Spanish moth larvae mainly feed on spider lilies and other Amaryllidaceae, plus Iridaceae and Liliaceae … in lab rearings. Host plant records in Amaryllidaceae include amaryllis, Clivia, Cooperia, Eucharis, Haemanthus, Hippeastrum, Hymenocallis, Narcissus, Pancratium, Polianthes, and Zephyranthes; in Iridaceae, Iris; and in Liliaceae, Crinum, Leucojum and Lilium. Damage Spanish moth larvae cause damage by chewing gregariously on leaves, bulbs, and rhizomes of the host plants. ” That supports your observations that the larvae eat your iris.