Subject: Wasp or Moth in Costa Rica
Location: Golfito, Costa Rica
January 29, 2015 1:03 pm
I found this insect around midnight on our concrete drive on the edge of the rainforest. The metallic blue and gold abdomen and the red head parts along with those wing were quite striking. Any ideas on what it could be? Thanks.
Signature: Ocho Verde
Dear Ocho Verde,
You are correct that this is a wasp mimic moth in the subfamily Arctiinae, but we are having a bit of difficulty with a species identification. It reminds us of the Spotted Oleander Caterpillar Moth, Empyreuma affinis, and we suspect it might be in the same genus. We will contact lepidopterist Julian Donahue to see if he can provide an identification.
Julian Donahue provides correction.
Nowhere near that, but it is a ctenuchid. Without access to the collection, after checking references at hand there are several possibilities, but from what I can gather it looks most like Poliopastea mirabilis (type locality: Colombia), but I wouldn’t take that to the bank without actually examining the specimen and comparing it to specimens in the collection.
Sorry I can’t be more definite, but I’ve run out of time. (I can tell you that this species doesn’t occur in French Guiana, whose ctenuchids have recently been monographed and illustrated.)