Are Wasp Moths Dangerous? Truth Revealed

Wasp moths look like wasps, and that’s enough to send most people running. But are wasp moths dangerous, or is it all just a show, and they are nothing to be worried about? Let’s find out

Have you ever heard of the words ‘wasp’ and ‘moth’ together? With the millions of insect species out there, a cross between the two creatures may not come as a surprise. 

A wasp moth is a species of moth that mimics a wasp to avoid predators. Here are some things you should know about the creature and what its presence can mean around you. 

Are Wasp Moths Dangerous? Truth Revealed

What is a Wasp Moth?

Scientifically known as the Amata hubneri, the Wasp Moth is a member of the superfamily Actiinae. 

This is the same family that includes tiger moths and woolly bears. They are the smallest of their type in the Erebidae family. 

In spite of their name, these are not wasps in any way, they are a species of moths. Discovered in 1829, Wasp moths were first found in the Indo-Australian tropics of northern Australia. 

Their most common American sub-species are found across many states, including Florida, South Carolina, and Mississippi. 

These insects can also be found in South America and parts of Southeast Asia. 

Adult moths are black in color with yellow bands at their abdomen. They also have a pair of transparent wings, and the entire ensemble comes together to give them the look of a common yellow wasp. 

These are one of those insects in nature that have learned to mimic others, even though they are actually just harmless moths. 

What Do These Moths Feed On?

Adult moths have a proboscis that they use to feed on flowers and fruits of different kinds. 

They have been recorded to feed on coat button flowers. As for the larvae, they are known to feed largely on flowers, decomposing materials, and substances with protein. 

The larvae of wasp moths can feed on rice crops like Oryza sativa and sweet potato and tropical plants like Mikania micrantha.

Certain species, like the oleander caterpillars, have a specific diet. These white polka-dot wasp moth larvae feed on the leaves of plants that belong to the oleander family.  

Are Wasp Moths Dangerous? Truth Revealed

Wasp Mimicry

Among the many wonders of nature, mimicry certainly makes the cut for the top 10. And the wasp moth is part of this phenomenon. 

This insect is known as a Batesian mimic – a form of natural mimicry where a harmless creature evolves to imitate the appearance and behavior of a harmful creature. 

Batesian mimicry is a form of mimicry that allows vulnerable creatures to have their own signals of protection from their predators. 

It was first noted by naturalist H.W. Bates when he observed this phenomenon among butterflies in the Brazilian rainforests.

Wasp moths are largely harmless creatures. So they resort to mimicking wasps that can help them to protect themselves from their natural enemies. 

In most cases, predators will notice these moths from a distance, mistake them for moths and leave them alone. 

Are They Dangerous?

Moths do not have any mandibles or jaws, so there is no chance of getting bit or stung by them. 

Since they look like wasps, you might get confused that they stingers like wasps. But in reality, they don’t have stingers.

However, there are some things to look out for if you are planning to eat them! 

Certain species of wasp moths feed on poisonous plants, and these poisons are stored in their bodies. Hence, they are not at all safe to be consumed as they can create serious health hazards for humans. 

Are Wasp Moths Dangerous? Truth Revealed

Polka-Dotted Wasp Moth

As we mentioned earlier, the polka-dotted moth wasp is another creature that mimics wasps. These have a distinct design that helps them hide among flowers to escape predators. 

The larvae also feed on oleander leaves, which cause them to ingest a poisonous substance in their body. If consumed by predators, this poison can cause a painful death. 

How They Repel Predators?

The tiny polka-dot moths are known for their incredible skills in avoiding a predator. They have an uncanny resemblance to powerful stinging wasps such as the bald-faced hornets. 

This helps them automatically repel predators. Most hungry birds – if they can find these colorful creatures among flowers – will avoid them. 

Another defense of the moths is in the food they consume. They feed on the leaves of plants belonging to the oleander family. 

The diet lets them save a high amount of toxic compounds called cardiac glycosides. Most predators will get poisoned if they eat these chemicals. Hence, many predators make sure to avoid these little creatures as snacks.

How They Attract Mates?

A unique feature of polka-dot moths is the way they attract their mates. Female moths are very beautiful, but they also use pheromones to lure the males. 

These females have special abdominal glands that help them to release the chemicals when they see a suitable mate around.

If the chemical attraction does not work, the moths rely on sound signals. The females can create a clicking sound by vibrating the plates they have on either side of their thorax. 

The males, when attracted, will mimic the sound in response. This communication brings the two moths together, allowing them to carry on the circle of life. 

Are Wasp Moths Dangerous? Truth Revealed

Frequently Asked Questions

Are polka dot wasp moths dangerous?

Polka dot moths can be dangerous, considering that they feed on oleander caterpillars which enables them to store a poisonous compound in their body. 
This can cause predators of the wasps to die of poisoning or have other adverse health effects. 

What does wasp moth eat?

Wasp moths feed on a lot of organic material, including plant and animal matter. The adult moths feed on plant materials, fruits and flowers. 
The larvae are known to feed on small insects, but mostly flowers and rotten fruits. 

Can a moth hurt a human?

Usually, wasp moths are harmless to humans as they do have no power to sting. However, the polka dot wasp moths feed on poisonous flowers that get stored in their body. 
Consuming these moths or allowing them to sit around food can have detrimental effects on health. The toxic compound cardiac glycosides in their bodies can be poisonous to us as well as pets. 

What is the most poisonous moth?

The Lonomia obliqua has the Guinness record for being the most poisonous moth in the world. 
It is a giant silkworm caterpillar found in South America that has bristles that emit poison as a defense mechanism. Its poison is known to have caused a number of human deaths in Brazil. 

Wrap Up

Unless you are choosing to eat them for dinner, wasp moths are not your biggest enemies. 

They are creatures trying to protect themselves in their natural environment with their unique characteristics. 

There is no need to intervene in their natural habitat, and keeping a safe distance is enough to keep you safe. 

Thank you for reading! 

Reader Emails

Mimicry in insects is a fascinating subject by itself, and wasp moths are a perfect example of it.

It is no wonder that our readers have been fascinated with these moth, and have sent us many letters in the past asking us to identify these bugs.

Please read some of these letters below.

Letter 1 – Wasp Mimic Sesiid Moths Mating

 

Jack Spaniard Moths.jpg
Hi there,
Was wondering if you might be able to help me identify this moth? Many Thanks if you can help. All the best,
Marc

Hi Marc,
We are not even going to attempt to search for an exact species on your mating Wasp Mimic Sesiid Moths unless we know where this photo was taken. We are guessing somewhere in the Caribbean since we have heard a local name for paper wasps is Jack Spaniard.

Hi there,
This was taken in the British Virgin Islands. I live near Sage Mountain on Tortola, British Virgin Islands and I have seen these around fairly often. We also get a lot of Sphinx moths and Tiger Moths (which get to about 5 inches). They are all very cool. Cheers,
Marc

Letter 1 – Wasp Mimic Sesiid Moths Mating

 

Jack Spaniard Moths.jpg
Hi there,
Was wondering if you might be able to help me identify this moth? Many Thanks if you can help. All the best,
Marc

Hi Marc,
We are not even going to attempt to search for an exact species on your mating Wasp Mimic Sesiid Moths unless we know where this photo was taken. We are guessing somewhere in the Caribbean since we have heard a local name for paper wasps is Jack Spaniard.

Hi there,
This was taken in the British Virgin Islands. I live near Sage Mountain on Tortola, British Virgin Islands and I have seen these around fairly often. We also get a lot of Sphinx moths and Tiger Moths (which get to about 5 inches). They are all very cool. Cheers,
Marc

Letter 2 – Wasp Moth

 

What’s this bug?
It’s only about an inch long, dark iridescent blue body, and white tips on the antennae. I found it sitting on a shady leaf in my yard. Would love to have it identified.
Thanks!
Dori

Hi Dori,
This is one of the Clearwing Wasp Mimic Moths. It appears to be Synanthedon albicornis which ranges from New England to Oregon. The larvae bore into the trunks of willow trees.

Letter 3 – Wasp Moth: Squash Vine Borer

 

Bugman,
This guy flew into my garden, he was about 3/4 of an inch in length.
Any idea what he is?
Thank you,
Jenny Brinker
Cincinnati, Ohio

Hi Jenny,
This is one of the Wasp Moths from the Family Sesiidae. More specifically, it is the Squash Vine Borer, Melittia satyriniformis. The larvae bore into squash and pumpkin vines, eating out the pith and causing the plants to die. The adults mimic wasps as a protective coloration.

Oh. That’s not good. I have pumpkin plants growing!! Thank you so much for the information. So know I know he is a BAD guy! Thanks again, Jenny

Letter 4 – Wasp Moth: Fireweed Borer

 

some type of clearwing moth from Fairbanks Alaska
Hello,
I took a picture of this little guy on one of the leaves of my tomato plant. He was less than an inch long.
Erik Anderson
Education Associate
Alaska Department of Fish & Game
Fairbanks Alaska

Hi Erik,
Your Clearwing Moth is one of the Wasp Moths in the Family Sesiidae. They often have dark bodies banded with yellow, red or white. Adults fly diuranlly and visit flowers where the wasp mimicry is a protective coloration. The caterpillars are borers and sometimes do considerable damage in orchards where they damage stems, roots and bark. Sorry we can’t give you an exact species.

Ed Note:
January 17, 2009
Thanks to taftw who identified many of our unidentified Sesiid Wasp Moths today, we now know that this is a Fireweed Borer, Albuna pyramidalis.  The species is well represented on BugGuide
.

Letter 5 – Exotic Invader: Wasp Mimic Moth

 

Pryeria sinica
Hi there…what an interesting site! I first visited about a month ago hoping to identify these wasp-mimicking moths that were swarming around the Euonymus hedgerow in back of my townhouse in central Maryland . For the entire month of October and the first two weeks of November, I had to run to my car with a jacket over my head because the infestation was so thick! I just learned that this species is Pryeria sinica and it is native to the Far East. Apparently it is a newly-identified pest species in my area and kind of a big deal! I thought others in the Maryland/Virginia area might find this useful, as there isn’t very much information available. I read something from the Maryland Dept. of Agriculture that says it’s crucial to report these guys if you see them. I wish I’d known that a few weeks ago. The invaders all died about two weeks ago when it really started to get cold. Attached are the best images I could find…I’m sorry, I don’t have the ability to thumbnail them.
Carley C. Heelen

Pryeria sinica male Pryeria sinica female

Hi Carley,
Thanks for the wealth of information and your photos. They are a welcome addition to our site.

I should add that those are not my photos, because it didn’t occur to me to take any. I found them on this site: http://everest.ento.vt.edu/~idlab/newmoth/newmoth.htm
Carley C. Heelen

Letter 6 – Wasp MImic Moth from Australia

 

A nice waspy mothy thing from The Hunter Valley in NSW, Australia
Hi Bugman,
I love your site; was lost in it for more than an hour the other day checking out your caterpillars. Today we drove out from Sydney to The Hunter Valley where I acquired this lovely broach. I scoured your moth pages, but couldn’t find anything that matched exactly, but it looks like a clearwing wasp-mimicking thing – what do you think? I hope you like it!
Regards,
Nadia

Hi Nadia,
We agree that this is one of the Wasp Mimic Arctiids or Tiger Moths. Sorry we can’t help with the species, but we love your photograph.

Letter 7 – Wasp Moth

 

“Yellow Jacket” Moth
Here is a moth that looks just like a yellow jacket. It even has a fake yellow jacket mouth. Hope you enjoy!
David
Eagle River, AK

Hi David,
We recently met a lepidopterist, Julian P. Donohue, who specializes in Wasp Moths. We will see if he can give us an exact species on this Wasp Moth. Here is what Julian wrote back: “Hi Daniel, The moth is indeed a wasp moth, family Sesiidae (formerly called Aegeriidae). All my references for this family are at the Museum, so I can’t begin to start putting a name on it. Where it was found would be a major help–there are many species that are very similar in appearance, but all don’t occur in the same places. The larvae of all are borers in roots and stems of various plants. The hostplant may be specific for a particular species, while other species feed as larvae on a variety of different plants. Some are severe pests of horticultural, ornamental, and agricultural crops. In the last two decades great strides have been made in studying the distribution and taxonomy of this family, using traps with synthetic pheromones as an attractant (most are dayfliers and very difficult to collect with a net–if you can even see them!). The pheromones were originally developed for use with sticky traps to detect the presence of pest species (e.g., peach tree borer), so growers would know when (and whether) to institute control measures. In haste, Julian “

Letter 8 – No longer Unknown Wasp Moth identified as Double Tufted Wasp Moth

 

Wasp moth or wasp moth mimic
This photo was taken by Jim Spencer in Shark Valley, Everglades National Park. Is it a wasp moth or wasp moth mimic? Hope you can help. Thanks,
Linda Evans

Hi Linda,
This is a Wasp Moth in the Tribe Euchromiini, but we have not had luck identifying the species. We are going to check with our neighbor Julian who is an expert in this group of moths. We called Julian and he gave us a common and scientific name: Double Tufted Wasp Moth, Didasys belae.

Letter 9 – Texas Wasp Moth from Mexico

 

wasp?
Sorry, the pic didn’t attach. I’ll try again. Found this picture on a website message board. It says this insect was on a leaf by a swimming pool near Cancun, Mexico. Is this a wasp? They said they have just started seeing these recently there and that they seem to be in pairs. thanks
Danni

Hi Danni,
We did not realize until we had begun posting this that you are not the originator of the image. This is some species of Wasp Mimic Moth in the family Sesiidae.

Update:  February 15, 2016
Thanks to a new query, we realized that though we made some corrections to this posting in the past, we did not include the name, the Texas Wasp Moth,
Horama panthalon.

Letter 10 – Wasp Moth from Puerto Rico

 

New Photos…
Hey there Bugman,
Here is a photo of a wasp-moth my boyfriend took a while ago, or atleast i believe it is a wasp-moth. he has other insect related photos in his photostream if you would like to see. Thanks
Jeighmee
All of the photos in the stream where taken in Puerto Rico, the wasp-moth more specifically was taken in the southern part of Puerto Rico.

Hi Jeighmee,
We will contact lepidopterist Julian Donahue to see if he can correctly identify your moth.

Update: (06/23/2008)
Appears to be Horama pretus. Dorsal view at: http://www.inra.fr/internet/Produits/PAPILLON/arctiid/texteng/h_pretus.htm The related species, Horama panthalon texana, occurs in the U.S.
Julian

Letter 11 – Wasp Moth from the Virgin Islands: Horama pretus

 

Common name of wasp moth
February 22, 2010
Hi Daniel,
Here are two photos of the wasp moth Horama pretus, photographed in my room on Necker Is., BVI on Dec. 26, 2009. Is there a common name for this moth?
Donald Gudehus
Necker Island, British Virgin Islands

Wasp Moth: Horama pretus

Hi Donald,
Common names are not really regulated, and one insect might have numerous common names, and the same common name might also be used for numerous insects.  To the best of our knowledge, Horama pretus does not have a common name other than the general Wasp Moth one.  Despite not being able to provide you with a common name, we are thrilled to have your photos of this lovely Arctiid.  We may try to contact Julian Donahue, an expert in the Arctiidae, to find out if he is aware of a common name.

Wasp Moth: Horama pretus

Letter 12 – Wasp Moth from Costa Rica: Histioea meldolae

 

Interesting Costa Rican Wasp Moths
April 11, 2010
On our recent trip to Costa Rica we spent a few days at the Las Cruces Biological Station/Wilson Botanical Gardens, a magnificent preserve and research facility run by the Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS). Part of my daily routine was to go night-lighting for bugs after dinner, a practice I would highly recommend to anyone who is interested in insects and isn’t too squeamish about tramping around in the dark. The station also provides a UV light screen for guests that are interested in viewing nocturnal insects, and this beautiful moth showed up one night on the underside of a nearby leaf. I am fairly certain the species is Histioea meldolae (Arctiidae: Ctenuchinae) and its startling appearance caught me a little off guard. Such brightly colored moths are usually diurnal (day fliers), the colors intended either for sexual communication or sending a warning to potential predators of toxicity or bad taste (aposematic coloration). This is indeed very common among Tiger Moths (Arctiidae) in general, including many Ctenuchid moths. Many Ctenuchids are also very good a mimicking menacing wasps, hence the common group name “Wasp Moths”. This one, however, didn’t look much like a wasp to me and appeared to be nocturnal, or perhaps crepuscular (dusk or dawn flier) which could explain the bright colors. It was also very difficult to identify and I eventually tracked it down by digging deeply into some very old scientific literature.  I could find no photos of this beautiful species on the internet, a fact that I took as further indication that it probably hides by day and is probably uncommon and/or very secretive. If anyone out there knows anything about this moth I would greatly appreciate a comment. Regards.
Karl

Wasp Moth: Histioea meldolae

Hi Karl,
As luck would have it, we are a neighbor and good friend of Arctiid expert Julian Donahue.  I will contact him immediately to see what information he is able to provide.

Julian Provides some Information
Daniel,
Your contributor nailed the identification. Histioea meldolae was described in 1876 by Butler, based on specimens from Venezuela and Trinidad; Hampson subsequently restricted the type locality to Trinidad, and also reported the occurrence of the species from Chiriqui, Panama (Godman-Salvin collection).
There are currently 14 species recognized in the genus; all are South American, except for H. meldolae–this may be the first record of the genus north of Panama, although the INBIO collection in Costa Rica may have specimens.
Despite the comprehensive collection of Costa Rican arctiids at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, we have no specimens of this species from Costa Rica (all of ours are from Venezuela). I have never collected any moths in this genus myself, so have no personal knowledge of their behavior. We have good series of some species, but no information on whether they were reared or collected in the field–and at what time of day.
Hope this helps,
Julian P. Donahue

Letter 13 – Wasp Moth from Costa Rica: Isanthrene crabroniformis

 

Interesting Costa Rican Wasp Moths – Part 2
April 13, 2010
The Ctenuchid moths (Arctiidae: Ctenuchinae, if you ignore recent taxonomic revisions) are often referred to as Wasp Moths for their tendency to mimic wasps. This mimicry is not always obvious, but it certainly is in the case of Isanthrene crabroniformis. In fact, this female had me completely fooled when a photographed it and it was not until I was reviewing my photos that evening that I realized it was actually a moth. This individual was one of several I spotted at the Las Cruces Biological Station/Wilson Botanical Gardens, Costa Rica. They were quite large, with an estimated wingspan of about 40-50 mm. The species does not appear to be well documented, not unusual for a tropical species, and the published range is given as Panama and Colombia. I suppose Costa Rica could be added to that list, and I suspect that its actual range may extend to other countries as well. Regards.
Karl

Isanthrene crabroniformis

Hi Karl,
My, your photos of Costa Rican Arctiids are stunning.  Thanks for doing the identification and sending us the photos.

Letter 14 – Wasp Moth: Possibly Douglas Fir Pitch Moth

 

What is this? I was told it was Stump F—er
April 25, 2010
What is this? I was told it was Stump F—er
I live in California, this bug was on my floor today, it could fly a little.
Jody
Mill Valley, CA

Wasp Moth:  Douglas Fir Pitch Moth???

Hi Jody,
This is actually a moth in the family Sessiidae, the members of which are commonly called Clearwing Moths or Wasp Moths, and they are very effective mimics of wasps.  The larvae bore in the stems, roots and sometimes trunks of host plants, often causing severe damage if the plant’s ability to transport moisture and nutrients is compromised.  The person who supplied you with the colorful edited common name may be able to point you in the direction of the host plant which may help with a species identification.  We believe your moth is in the genus Carmenta based on images posted to BugGuide and the Moth Photographers Group website.

Thanks for the information. I did ask my friend who has a degree in forestry, what sort of trees this moth likes and he said Oaks, Bay, Fir and Redwood..I have all of those!
Jody

Thanks for the additional information Jody.  We believe your moth looks very similar to the Douglas Fir Pitch Moth, Synanthedon novaroensis, which is pictured on BugGuide and mentioned on the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program UC IPM Online.  A live specimen is picture on the pdf on the University of Washington College of Forest Resources website.  The living specimen pictured on the Moth Photographers Group website is a very close match, and we are relatively confident that you submitted an image of a Douglas Fir Pitch Moth.

Letter 15 – Wasp Moth from Costa Rica

 

Red, blue and black wasp Moth with white ‘boots’
July 12, 2010
This morning I was sitting on a bench in Sarchi, Costa Rica when a brightly coloured moth landed on my handed and proceeded to walk from hand to hand for roughly five minutes. After spending an hour doing some research I believe I’ve narrowed it down to the Cosmosoma genus and it most closely resembles the Scarlet Bodied Wasp Moth, but I’m interested to know the exact species.
Thanks,
Edward
Sarchi, Costa Rica

Wasp Moth

Hi Edward,
We agree that this is a Wasp Moth and it is most probably in the genus Cosmosoma.  We are going to try to check with Julian Donahue, an expert in Arctiids and a traveler to Costa Rica, to see if he can provide information on the species.

Unknown Wasp Moth

Very much a distinct species, as I so very subtly pointed out to you last night.
The Natural History Museum’s Costa Rican specimens of this moth are identified as “Cosmosoma” sp. (?new), near regia.
Quotation marks because the moth is currently placed in Cosmosoma, but that may not be the correct genus.
Regia was described from Venezuela; a closely related species, bogotense, with reduced hyaline wing patches, was described from Colombia.
So it would be safe to say that this moth appears to be what is currently recognized as Cosmosoma regia (Schaus, 1894).
Julian P. Donahue

Karl provides some information
July 14, 2010
Hi Daniel and Edward:
Hopefully we can get a confirmation (or correction) from Julian Donahue, but I am going to suggest that it is Cosmosoma regia.  I couldn’t find any online photos to compare to, but according to the identification keys and detailed descriptions provided by Hampson (1898) only C. regia and C. bogotense match most of the features visible in these excellent photos. Of the two, C. regia matches almost perfectly and is the only species with white tarsi, or ‘boots’.   The localities given are Venezuela and Peru for C. regia and Colombia for C. bogotense, but I doubt that either of these represent an accurate range. Regards.  Karl
http://www.archive.org/stream/catalogueoflepid01brituoft#page/254/mode/1up/search/IX
http://www.archive.org/stream/catalogueoflepid13brit#page/n49/mode/2up (see Fig. 10)

Letter 16 – Wasp Moth from Australia: Euchromia creusa

 

Unknown flying Australian Bug
Location: Australia
January 15, 2011 6:18 pm
Dead bug on car. Any idea what it is??
Signature: Ruth

Wasp Moth from Australia

Hi Ruth,
This is a Wasp Moth in the subtribe
Euchromiina and it does not have a common name.  We identified it as Euchromia creusa on the Australian Moths website.

Letter 17 – Wasp Moth from Costa Rica: Scelilasia erythrozonata

 

Moth from Costa Rica
Location: Valle del Silencio, La Amistad, Costa Rica
January 25, 2011 3:52 pm
Dear Bugman
Last September,one evening,i found during an expedition in the Valle del Silencio, Costa Rica, this rather big moth. Unfortunately, i only managed to take one picture, because it was moving very nervous. Despite my efforts to identify that moth, i haven’t found a picture of one that would really look similar. The Valle del Silencio is on 2500 m above sea level, and there, it is raining up to 359 days a year. I would be very happy if you could help me with this beautiful insect! Thank you very much..
Signature: Michael Schoy, Switzerland

Wasp Moth from Costa Rica

Hi Michael,
Even with this poor camera angle we are able to tell that this is a Wasp Moth in the subtribe Euchromiina.  We will try to identify the species.

Update:  January 21, 2015
We just received a comment that this is
Scelilasia erythrozonata.  We found and image of a mounted specimen on Taxonomy Browser and a matching photo on the German site Fotoreisenberichte.de.

Letter 18 – Maid Alice Wasp Moth from Namibia

 

Namibian Moth???
Location: Windhoek, Namibia
February 21, 2011 5:27 pm
Dear All,
I just found this insect and I have never seen anyting like it before – I don’t think its a butterfly but could it be a moth of some sort??
I found it during the day but we have had a very heavy rainy season (not sure if this is helpfull in any way)and its around 20mm in length and about 40mm wide.
Any advce in this regard ould be greatly appreciated.
Signature: Ernst A. Schnaitmann

Maid Alice Wasp Moth

Hi Ernst,
You are correct that this is a Moth.  We believe it is a Wasp Moth in the subtribe Euchromiina, so named because the diurnal adults mimic wasps.  We do not have time to try to identify the species at the moment, but perhaps on of our readers will have some success while we are at work.

Maid Alice Wasp Moth

Karl provides an identification
Hi Daniel and Ernst:
This looks like another ‘Handmaiden’ wasp moth, probably Amata alicia. Check out a previous WTB? post by Gabriel on November 18, 2010, or this excellent photo of a Maid Alice on the African Moths website. Regards. Karl

Letter 19 – Wasp Moth from Senegal

 

Flying bug seen in Senegal
Location: Cap Skirring, Senegal, Africa
March 6, 2011 6:52 pm
Hi Daniel,
Lynne Nerenbaum here. I met you at the former Studio P and also know Lisa. When I was recently in Cap Skirring in southern Senegal I saw this bug/moth/butterfly. I am hoping you can identify it. I wasn’t able to.
Thank you and hope you’re well!
Signature: Lynne

Wasp Moth

Hi Lynne,
Nice to hear from you.  Your creature is a Wasp Moth in the subtribe Euchromiina, commonly called Wasp Moths because they are diurnal and mimic wasps for protection.  We will try to identify the species for you.  There are many North American Wasp Moths, with Florida probably having the most diversity, and you can see images of North American members of the subtribe Euchromiina on BugGuide.

Letter 20 – Wasp Moth from Mexico

 

Whats this bug
Location: Cancun Mexico
April 27, 2011 4:01 pm
Took this picture in January in Mexico South ofCancun in 2007
Looks like a fly?, Antennae like a butterfly, and weird fuzzy legs….
Very cool though
Signature: Sean

Clearwing Moth from Mexico

Hi Sean,
What a positively gorgeous Clearwing (we know it seems like a misnomer) Wasp Mimic Moth in the family Sesiidae, an interesting group nicely represented on BugGuide. We will try to correctly identify the species for you.  Perhaps Karl will give it a shot.

Correction Courtesy of Karl
Hi Daniel and Sean:
Wasp Moth is a somewhat generic term used to describe wasp mimicking moths from several families. This one is actually an Arctiid moth (Erebidae: Arctiinae), Horama plumipes, which ranges throughout Central America and as far north as southern Texas. Regards.  Karl

Letter 21 – Wasp Moth from Mexico

 

Isanthrene crabroniformis
Location:  Colima, Mexico
Wednesday, December 14, 2011 11:32 AM
i gave the website form another try and let it work for 5 minutes or so with no luck.
my message is:  Re Isanthrene moth sp.
hello there, here is what i’ve narrowed down to be an Isanthrene moth but would like to know the species.  according to zipcodezoo, there are 53 species similar to Isanthrene crabroniformis, one of which is Isanthrene colimae which i’m thinking it may be (because i live in colima) but cannot find images or descriptions for I. colimae.  what do you think? thank you, beverly
geographical location is colima, mexico elev 545m.
thank you, beverly

Wasp Moth

i’m really not going to be a pest daniel but here is another image view of isanthrene sp. showing all black legs (as opposed to black and red or only red).  i figure if zipcodezoo knows that I.colimae is similar to I.crabroniformis, there must be an image or description of I.colimae
somewhere.  i looked at maybe 10 different sites and did not find it.  by the way, i estimate the body length (not including the antennae) to be between 4 – 5 cm long.  regards, beverly
thank you daniel…i understand there are millions of bugs and only three of you so no need to be sorry and i appreciate you being there and doing what you are doing, beverly

Wasp Moth

Hi Beverly,
Thanks for your persistence in getting these images to us.  We haven’t the time to substantiate the identification at the moment.  It is final examination period and our schedules are filled, but we are posting and we hope to get Julian Donahue’s opinion on the species.  We have photos of
Isanthrene crabroniformis in our archives.  The leg coloration might indicate a different species.

Thank you, Daniel, and good luck with finals.  I’ve looked at the Isanthrene crabroniformis images at your website and thought that my bug must be a similar but different species.  I am not as familiar with the habits of moths as I am with butterflies, for example, their migratory patterns and how far they are likely to stray from a range.  I not sure if I remember correctly the general reported range of I. crabroniformis but I think the images I’ve seen of it are in the areas of Costa Rica/Guatamala.  I would be most interested and appreciative of any information you might come up with as your time permits. In the meantime I will pursue possible information sources here in Mexico’s universities but that will have to wait until after the holidays (people take their holidays very seriously here 🙂

Hi again Beverly,
Seems you were right about the legs.  See Julian Donahue’s response.

Julian Donahue responds
Not I. crabroniformis (which has red legs), but most likely Isanthrene pyrocera Hampson, 1898, described from Mexico.
Another species. I. colimae, was described from (wait for it……) Colima; most likely it is figured in Seitz, Macrolepidoptera of the World, but I don’t have that at hand.
Julian

Funny Daniel…both of the images I sent to you are in Google images but described as I. crabroniformis and Julian D. says that it is not I.crabroniformis…the images were submitted by your website and I don’t mind at all, but shouldn’t they be identified as I. species or I. pyrocera or colimae?  I like that the images are out there for people to see (and maybe comment on) but we shouldn’t send images that are incorrectly identified should we?  can this be corrected?  Thank you, Beverly

Hi Beverly,
This recent email has us confused.  Please clarify what you mean that the images you sent are in Google images.  We were under the assumption that you took the photos.  When we received your original email, we titled the images as I. crabroniformis, which is incorrect unless Julian, an expert in Arctiids, is mistaken. 

Hi Daniel…well, if you google I.pyocera or I. colimae and opt for “images”  the images i sent to you will appear as having been sent by whatsthatbug.com and they will be labeled as l. crabroniformis as they are labeled on your website (as least the last time i looked).  i don’t know how all of this works, but google images must take the subject line of the emails i sent to you and match it with the photo.  this would explain why there are so many outrageous errors in the google images database.  i don’t know.  i tried to correct this at “google images”, but there was no option for corrections…only options relating to reporting “obscene material”.  i most certainly did take the photos and sent them to you via email and i guess google automatically does the rest if you are not aware of sending the images to google.  either way, it is not a copyright problem, as far as i am concerned you can use the images as you like.  what is a bit disturbing is that google must somehow take the images from your website, rather than your website initiating the use of your website content, which is resulting in erroneous information.  it is the erroneous information that bugs (sorry) me.
are the images still titled as I.crabroniformis on your website as they were earlier today?  i’ll take a look.
yes, that is my point exactly.  the images are not correctly identified per Julian’s information (either on your website or in google images) and i have confidence in the information he provided (i.e. I.pyrocera or I. colimae).  certainly, after looking at the prior images of I.crabroniformis posted to your site, i learned (prior to sending my images to your site) that my bug is not I. crabroniformis but one of the 53 related species as listed at the zipcodezoo website.  i do not in the least believe that Julian is mistaken.
i hope this is clear and if not, please let me know.  if not, simply google I.pyrocera (option, images) and take a look at what you find.  i had always assumed that people (or photo owners) submitted images for posting on google, but evidently that assumption is not correct and google simply helps itself and does a very bad job of it.
I will do my best to clarify whatever questions you have.  what is important to me is that the images be correctly identified (to the entire world) per that provided by Julian Donahue.  regards, Beverly

Thanks for the clarification Beverly.  The google images search is most likely because I retitled your images as Isanthrene crabroniformis when I posted them to What’s That Bug? originally.  To go back and rename them would require reposting, which we don’t believe warrants the effort since it changes nothing on our own site and would only change matters on the search engines which you have already indicated are often inaccurate.  

Karl provides a similar explanation
Hi Daniel:
When you do a Google Images search for Isanthrene crabroniformis Beverly’s photos pop up with your site and her original name given to the photo. If you click on it it does take you to WTB and her post with all the correct information. I believe she is just concerned that the image that appears in Google Images is still tagged with the wrong name. To correct this you would have to change the names on the posted photos. I hope this helps, but perhaps I have confused things more.  Karl

Thanks Daniel.  I’m okay with this.  I think if people are interested, they will click on the image and be directed to your site and the conversations.  Might be something to keep in mind for the future though.  Regards, Beverly

Letter 22 – Wasp Moth

 

can you help identify this bug?
Location: houston/cypress, texas
December 2, 2011 11:23 am
We were curious what kind of bug this is. Any ideas?
Signature: thank you, jennifer

Unknown Wasp Moth

Dear Jennifer,
This is actually a Moth that mimics a wasp for protection.  We cannot determine for certain from your photo if this is a member of the family Sesiidae (see BugGuide), our first choice, or of the Tiger Moth subtribe Euchromiina (see BugGuide).  The Moth Photographers Grouphas many similar looking members in the family Sesiidae, commonly called the Clearwing Moths, though we cannot find an exact match.  The markings on the legs and antennae are quite distinctive in your photographs.

Unknown Wasp Moth

Karl provides an identification
Hi Daniel and Jennifer:
It looks like Horama plumipes. The taxonomy for Wasp Moths (as well as Tiger Moths and related taxa) is a little confusing as the whole group has been undergoing revision. Some internet sites still classify the genus Horama as Family Arctiidae: Subfamily  Ctenuchinae, but most have now switched to Family Erebidae: Subfamily Archtiinae. This includes Bugguide (which includes H. panthalon [the Texas Wasp Moth] but doesn’t appear to have any photos H. plumipes) and the Butterflies and Moths of North America site (but again, no images). Horama plumipes is primarily a Central American species, ranging from Southern Texas to Nicaragua. I suspect it is rather rare in Texas. You can also check out the Moth Photographers Group or the site for the Area de Conservación Guanacaste (ACG), Costa Rica. Regards. Karl

 

Letter 23 – Wasp Mimic Moth from Netherlands

 

Subject: Bug with 2 yellow bands and blue end
Location: Oldenzaal, The Netherlands
June 27, 2012 8:21 am
I would be happy if anyone could tell me the name of this insect.
Signature: Hi,

Wasp Mimic Moth

Hi,
This is a wasp mimic moth, either Sesiidae or Arctinae.  No time to research.  We’re skipping town.

 

Letter 24 – Wasp Moth from Puerto Rico is Nyridela chalciope

 

Subject: Shiny wasp-moth?
Location: Guaynabo, Puerto Rico
December 4, 2012 12:44 pm
Heya!
Took a picture of this cool-looking dude at a friend’s apartment in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico at the beginning of December. Around an inch in length, and completely unafraid/uncaring of my camera.
I’ve done some digging and some people have suggested I check Sessidae or Euchromiina, but I haven’t had much luck in finding this specific guy yet.
Signature: Gravekeeper

Wasp Moth: Nyridela chalciope

Dear Gravekeeper,
You got good advice.  We identified this Euchromiinid as
Nyridela chalciope on the Moth Photographer Groups Moths of Puerto Rico Moths section.  We then confirmed its identity on the Moths of Jamaica website where we read that:  “Method of identification: description in Hampson (1898) p. 219 (as corrected by Forbes (1930)) and comparison with black and white illustration of similar N. xanthocera in Hampson (1898).
Notes: this species is virtually identical to N. xanthocera, except that the antennae are completely yellow in the case of xanthocera whereas in chalciope they are black along most of their length and only yellow at their apices .”  Based on that description, it would appear that you have
Nyridela xanthocera and the Belize Moths website appears to confirm that.  Moth PHotographers Group Antilles Checklist only includes N. chalciope and not N. xanthocera, so we will have to backtrack and say that this is Nyridela chalciope.  The mounted specimen on the Harvard University’s Caribbean Insects page has all yellow antennae.  We are going to trust Harvard on this one despite some conflicting information in other places.  Though the species name may be debatable, we are at least confident we have the correct genus.   

Hello,
That was very quick and thorough! Thanks for the help, I’ll let the guys at the WhatsThisBug subreddit (where I initially posted the picture) know the answer–they were just as stumped on the species. I carry my camera everywhere, and I always jump at the opportunity to take pictures of strange critters I stumble upon– you’ll definitely hear from me again!
Cheers,
Eduardo Rivera

Thanks Eduardo,
Can you please provide us with a link to WhatsThisBug because we are curious about our competition.

Heya,
No problem. Reddit is the biggest forum on the internet, and is populated by thousands of very specific subforums on every topic imaginable (from video gaming to politics to celebrities to sciences). One such sub-reddit is What’s This Bug?, at http://reddit.com/r/whatsthisbug . You post an image and location, and the visitors of the forum will try and help with identification. Most are hobbyists and aficionados, not entomologists–they just really like bugs!

Thanks for the information Eduardo.

 

Letter 25 – Wasp Mimic Tiger Moth from Peru: Euclera species

 

Subject: Moth sp.
Location: Amazon Manu Lodge, Madre de Dios, Peru
March 12, 2013 8:49 am
I think this is a moth, but I can’t find anything like it on internet. Maybe some kind of Cosmosoma?
Photo taken November 11, 2009.
Signature: Kristian

Tiger Moth
Tiger Moth

Hi Kristian,
We don’t necessarily agree that your moth is in the genus
Cosmosoma, but we do agree that it is most likely in the subtribe Euchromiina that includes that genus.  You can see the genera included in the subtribe Euchromiina on BugGuide.  We thought we were lucky when we discovered the Moth PHotographers Group Arctiid Moths of Peru by Jim Vargo page, but this species is not pictured there.  We will check with our friend and Arctiid specialist Julian Donahue to see if he recognizes your moth, one of the Wasp Mimic species of Tiger Moths.

Tiger Moth
Tiger Moth

Got me!! as the amateur I am in this jungle of creatures! 🙂 Anyway, the Cosmosoma was just a desperate struggle in the dark. I came across a site on the net with a lot of beautiful photos of butterflies and moths. By watching these photos the Cosmosoma was the closest I could come my moth. But most of them (on the photos on this site) had clear (transparent) wings, but with “glowing” spots on body and wings, like the one on my photo. Looking forward to hear from you if Julian Donahue can solve the problem.
Thanks in advance!
Kristian

Julian Donahue Responds
Hi Daniel,
I just don’t have time to try to look this one up right now. All I can say is it’s a female ctenuchine.
I’m copying this, with images, to a ctenuchid expert colleague in São Paulo, Lívia Pinheiro, to see if she can come up with a name for you. (She might be a good future resource for names on South American ctenuchines.)
Julian

Julian writes again
Daniel,
Here’s an ID for you, from Livia Pinheiro.
Julian

Hi Julian,
It is from the genus Euclera. I don’t know the species, it is identified as E. hoffmannsi in MUSM, but I don’t know based on what. I have the photo of the type of E. hoffmannsi, it is a male and it looks very alike it, and as far as I remember there is sexual dimorphism on the hindwings, so it is possible that the identification is correct.
Cheers


Letter 26 – Wasp Moth from Brazil

 

Subject: Really beautiful!
Location: São Paulo, Brazil
April 7, 2013 11:16 am
Hello,
I’ve taken these on the last few days on São Paulo, Brazil.
Could someone help identifying them?
Thanks and best regards
Signature: david.lynch

Wasp Moth
Wasp Moth

Dear David Lynch,
This is a Wasp Moth in the Tiger Moth tribe Arctiini, and we believe it is either in one of the subtribes Ctenuchina or Euchromiina.  Wasp Moths have evolved to mimic stinging wasps though the moths themselves have no stinging defense mechanisms.  We found a matching image on Project Noah, and it is only identified as a Wasp Moth Ctenuchinae, which is obsolete taxonomy.  We are sending your photos to Tiger Moth expert Julian Donahue to see if he can provide a species identification.

Wasp Moth
Wasp Moth

Julian Donahue Responds
This is one of my favorite Neotropical ctenuchids: the moth with the fuzzy red racing stripe. It’s in the genus Dinia, either mena (more likely) or eagrus; John Rawlins has been revising the genus but I don’t think it’s been published yet. This moth is demonstrating a behavior common to this group of moths (useful for observing or collecting them): it is sucking the juice from a bruised or wilted plant that contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids, thought to confer protection to the adult moth by making it distasteful to predators. The moths are brightly colored to advertise their distastefulness (aposematism), and many species are diurnal. The most common plants containing these compounds are heliotrope (Heliotropium) and allies in the Boraginaceae, and composites (Asteraceae) related to Eupatorium.
Julian

 

Letter 27 – Wasp Moth from West Africa is Euchromia amoena

 

Subject: Rainbow fly
Location: Freetown, Sierra Leone, West Africa
September 1, 2013 4:16 am
Hi,
I saw this one on new years eve in Freetown, a couple of years ago, do you have any idea what this bug is called.
Thanks
Signature: Brgds

Wasp Moth:  Euchromia amoena
Wasp Moth: Euchromia amoena

Dear Brgds,
This turned out to be a much quicker and easier identification than we anticipated.  This is a Wasp Moth in the subfamily Arctininae, and when we looked up Wasp Moth, we found this similar looking species of Wasp Moth from India,
Euchromia elegantissima.  We then searched that genus in South Africa and found another posting in our archive of your species, Euchromia amoena.

Letter 28 – Wasp Mimic Moth from Sierra Leone may be Euchromia lethe

 

Subject: Please identify this, insect
Location: Sierra Leone
November 24, 2014 9:57 am
Hello,
I’m currently based in Sierra Leone as part of a military op and have had the chance to take pics of a few bugs. I appreciate that you said you won’t be able to identify all pics, so I’ve narrowed it down to just one bug.
Signature: Na

Possibly Euchroma lethe
Possibly Euchroma lethe

Dear Na,
This is one of the diurnal Wasp Mimic Moths in the genus Euchroma, and we believe based on your location and this African Moths posting that it might be Euchroma lethe.  The species is pictured on a Palau stamp where it is given the common name The Basker and the stamp is reproduced on the Colnect site.

Thanks so much,
I’ve had a lot of people impressed by your speedy and knowledgable reply, not to mention, being able to impress two little boys, Francis and Ryan…
Candis

We are happy the youngsters were impressed.

Letter 29 – Unknown Wasp Moth from Costa Rica

 

Subject: Wasp or Moth in Costa Rica
Location: Golfito, Costa Rica
January 29, 2015 1:03 pm
Hello Bugman,
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

Wasp Moth
Wasp Moth

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.)
Julian

Letter 30 – Wasp Moth from US Virgin Islands

 

Subject: Carribean moth
Location: St. John, USVI
April 28, 2015 1:03 pm
Hi there Bugman!
On our recent spring break vacation in St. John, USVI, my son found a beautiful moth, which we have not been able to identify. I have searched online and Robert has combed through all his many bug books to no avail! We also took our pictures to the island’s nature center, but they couldn’t help us either. A professor at the University of Maryland suggested he was one of the tropical tiger moths. After looking through lots of images on your site, I’m guessing it is some type of wasp mimic.
I’ve attached two images of the insect. He was inside our vacation home, which was up a fairly high mountain on St. John. It was small, probably less than an inch long, and about the same across the widest part of its folded wings.
We would appreciate any info you can provide!
Signature: Tamara and Robert Grant

Tiger Moth:  Cosmosoma species
Wasp Moth: Cosmosoma achemon

Dear Tamara and Robert,
This diurnal Tiger Moth is one of the very effective wasp mimics in the genus
Cosmosoma and members of the genus are commonly called Wasp Moths.  We found a matching image on the Puerto Rico Moths page of Moth Photographers Group where it is identified as Cosmosoma achemon.  There is also a nice image on Insetologia, our sister site from Brazil.  Moths of Jamaica lists the range as:  “South America and Greater Antilles.”

Wasp Moth:  Cosmosoma achemon
Wasp Moth: Cosmosoma achemon

Dear Daniel,
Thank you so much for the speedy ID – I can’t wait to tell Robert when he gets home from school today!
Tamara

Letter 31 – Unknown Ctenuchid Wasp Mimic Moth from Brazil

 

Subject: Brazil Wasp Moth (Dinia?)
Location: Fenix, Parana State, Brazil
July 29, 2015 4:10 am
I found a moth similar to the one in my picture, though clearly a different species, here:
2013/04/07/wasp-moth-from-brazil/
The photo I am submitting was taken on the 1st August 2008 in Parana State near the town of Fenix, close to the Ivai river. This one has a slimmer body and a yellow bar across the thorax, but is superficially otherwise similar.
Signature: Patrick

Wasp Mimic Moth
Wasp Mimic Moth

Dear Patrick,
We agree that your moth looks very similar to the
Dinea species you found in our archives, and we also found a similar looking Ctechunid on Project Noah, but it is only identified to the subtribe Ctenuchina.  Perhaps Cesar Crash who runs a sister site in Brazil, Insetologia, will recognize this lovely Wasp Mimic.

Letter 32 – Wasp Moth from India

 

Subject: Can you identify please?
Location: 14°53′54″ N and 15°40′00″ N and longitudes 73°40′33″ E and 74°20′13″ E.
December 13, 2015 9:03 pm
Hi,
I am back once again for a request to identify some lovely bugs. I live in Goa. India. It is a smallest state in India – located on the west coast.
Goa i/ˈɡoʊ.ə/ is a state located in the South western region of India; it is bounded by the state of Maharashtra to the north, and by Karnataka to the east and south, while the Arabian Sea forms its western coast. It is India’s smallest state by area and the fourth smallest by population.
Goa is a former Portuguese province; the Portuguese overseas territory of Portuguese India existed for about 450 years until it was annexed by India in 1961.[4][5]
Goa is visited by large numbers of international and domestic tourists each year for its beaches, places of worship and world heritage architecture. It also has rich flora and fauna, owing to its location on the Western Ghats range, which is classified as a biodiversity hotspot.
Goa encompasses an area of 3,702 km2 (1,429 sq mi). It lies between the latitudes 14°53′54″ N and 15°40′00″ N and longitudes 73°40′33″ E and 74°20′13″ E. Most of Goa is a part of the coastal country known as the Konkan, which is an escarpment rising up to the Western Ghats range of mountains, which separate it from the Deccan Plateau. The highest point is the Sonsogor, with an altitude of 1,167 metres (3,829 ft). Goa has a coastline of 101 km (63 mi).
Signature: Sucheta Potnis

Wasp Moth
Wasp Moth

Dear Sucheta,
Because you have multiple species included in your submission, we need to separate them for posting purposes.  Your first attachment, the most colorful of the three moths, is a Wasp Moth in the tribe Euchromiini, and we believe it is
Euchromia polymena.  Wasp Moths get their common name as many members of the tribe are excellent mimics of stinging insects, though they are themselves harmless.  They are also diurnal in habit.  This image from TrekNature supports our identification.  We will be postdating your submission to go live during our holiday absence from the office later in the month.

Letter 33 – Red Spot Wasp Mimic Moth from Argentina

 

Subject: Moth picture collection
Location: Salta, Argentina
December 15, 2015 4:36 am
Dear WTB,
I have hundreds of pictures of moths from Salta, Argentina waiting for identification as I am not able to do it. Any advice? Would you be interested? I have pics classified by colour and all with a ruler in cm for scale. If interested we could collaborate or perhaps you know people that are interested?
Many thanks and kind regards.
Julio de Castro
Signature: Julio

Red Spot Wasp Mimic Moth
Red Spot Wasp Mimic Moth

Dear Julio,
That is quite some task you have on your hands and we can’t help but to wonder why you would have so many unidentified moth images from such a specific location.  Please provide us some information regarding the origin of this collection of images.  Are they your images?  Why were they taken?  Are they part of a bigger collection that includes identified species?  We try, often unsuccessfully, to post at least five new submissions each day, and if your collection numbers 200 moth images, it would take us well over a month to post them all, and that would mean ignoring all our other submissions.  Winter is rapidly approaching us in the northern hemisphere, and each year we experience a significant drop in identification requests with January and February marking our slowest months, though we also experience an increase in submissions from Australia, South Africa and other southern hemisphere locations at that time.  We cannot promise you that we can identify all your images, but we are quite curious if you send them one moth at a time, using our standard submission form each time, and provide any relevant information on the specimen while it was alive.  Our readership especially likes to see images of colorful and exotic species, and plain brown moths are often very difficult for us to identify as we have no formal training in taxonomy.  Also be aware that we will be away from the office for the holidays between December 21 and January 2, and at that time we will not be responding to any emails during that time.
Now that we have stated all that, we are pleased that we have identified your diurnal Wasp Moth in the tribe Euchromiini as the Red Spot Wasp Mimic Moth,
Cosmosoma teuthras, by first matching an image on the Lepidopteres de Pitangui au Minas Gerais site and then double checking that ID on the Moths of the Amazon and Andes site where it states:  “Cosmosoma teuthras is found from Mexico to Venezuela, and throughout Amazonia and the eastern Andes as far south as Bolivia. …  This is a cloudforest species found at elevations between about 500-2000m.”  We see on Google Maps that Salta is just south of the Bolivia border, and we are well aware that insects do not respect international borders, so the Moths of the Amazon and Andes site should revise their range on the Red Spot Wasp Mimic Moth.

Dear Daniel,
Many thanks for your kind and fast reply. Many thanks for identifying the moth for me. I only included it because the form would not let me advance without an image!!! in any case it is an interesting wasp that I only saw last year in Salta and I thought it wasa kind of a moth!.
Regarding the reason for the picture collection, I bought a small farm in the Yungas area of Salta province. The area is known as “El Gallinato” and there is still quite a bit of wildlife around, including butterflies and moths. For security reasons we leave a neon light on in our verandah and I noted that every morning there were many moths, beetles and other insects. Being a (former?) scientist and nature lover, I started to photograph them every morning! At the beginning it was hard work as there were many “new” species. As time went by, things became easier as repetitions started to occur and now my job is much easier as I probably find 1-2 a day.
As I commute from Zimbabwe and Salta (to avoid the winters), I can only find the moths that hatch let’s say between December and June of each year so I am not able to detect those appearing during the winter although I guess that there are fewer.
Regarding the type of moths, there are all sorts and what I have done in my complete ignorance and with the purpose of saving myself some work, was to group them by colour and by whether they fold the wings or not! Yes, I know, a very amateur way of doing things but I do not like taxonomy!!!
All pictures I have from Salta  are from my farm with a few exceptions of some I may have collected on the entry road but these are mainly butterflies (maybe moths that look like butterflies? or wasps?).
I take your offer and will start posting you moths when I can and then see if you find them interesting. I believe that it is but I will lea ve the final decision to you. In any case, it will keep u busy during your winter “diapause”!!! I will send you another one now and wait for your reply before I flood you with pictures, if u think this is OK.
Thanks again and kind regards.
JC

Letter 34 – Wasp Moth from Mexico

 

Subject:  moth to identify
Geographic location of the bug:  Yucatan Mexico
Date: 12/09/2017
Time: 11:24 AM EDT
This looks a lot like Horama panthalon but there are enough differences on this moth to suggest another species. Any ideas?
How you want your letter signed:  John Guerin

Wasp Moth: Horama panthalon

Dear John,
While we acknowledge there is variation between individuals of the same species, we do not notice any significant differences between the image of the Wasp Moth you submitted and the images previously identified as
Horama panthalon on our site.  Furthermore, the markings on your moth looks the same as the markings on the Texas Wasp Moth in this BugGuide posting.  We may be wrong, but we believe the individuals in our archives, your individual and the postings on BugGuide all represent the same species.

Thank you Daniel. It is very kind of you to look into this. I’m sure you are correct in concluding that it is inter-species variation. I do however find it interesting that all 3 photos of the Yucatan specimens have consistent markings behind the eyes and their “panthalons” are quite large while the Bugguide specimens are also all consistent in having slightly different markings and smaller “panthalons”. Of course, regional variations could explain this and perhaps in another thousand generations or so they may indeed become separate species!!!
Thanks again Daniel, its nice to share bug talk with someone who shares the passion.
John Guerin

Update:  January 14, 2018
Hi Daniel
As a follow up to our last e-mail regarding the identification of the Horama wasp moth species, I am now convinced that the moth I photographed is not Horama panthalon but rather Horama oedippus. Here is a link that has led me to that conclusion.
http://v3.boldsystems.org/index.php/Taxbrowser_Taxonpage?taxid=16417
The photographs are not great but the markings and the size of the panthalons are identical.
I thought you would be interested in this information.
Regards   John

Happy New Year and thanks for the update John.  With that information, we located an image on pBase of Horama oedippus that does indeed look identical to your moth, but interestingly, another image of Horama oedippus posted to pBase has an entirely orange abdomen, which is either an incorrect identification, or an indication that there is much variation in color and markings within the species, or perhaps even sexual dimorphism.  Many similar looking insects, including many butterflies and moths, cannot be reliably identified through observations or even through images, but rather they require actual inspection of the individual, possibly through dissection of the genitalia or by DNA analysis.

 

Letter 35 – Wasp Moth from Thailand

 

Subject:  Determination request
Geographic location of the bug:  Thailand inthanon national parc
Date: 01/02/2018
Time: 04:07 PM EDT
Hi Bugman,
I’m searching for more than 3 months to identify a bug, also used your site, but still not convinced that I’ve found it.
I’m thinking of Amata Grotei. but can’t find extra scientific information about it.
Here a similar picture I’ve found, but the wings are different (http://www.thaibugs.com/wp-content/gallery/syntominae/IMG_7693.jpg)
Another one can be Amata grotei, colors are different, but the wing matches perfectly. (maybe the color differences are between male or female )
https://www.flickr.com/photos/beautiful_bugs/24751620053/in/photostream/
Or the ceryx amaon 4 can also be the one (http://www.thaibugs.com/?page_id=210) at the bottom of the page.
Or perhaps it’s a Sessiidae Clear-wing Wasp Moth
Hope you can help me out here!
Thank you very much in advance.
How you want your letter signed:  Mr Ronald

Wasp Moth

Dear Mr Ronald,
The best we are able to provide for you at this time is a general identification.  This is a Wasp Moth in the subfamily Arctiinae.  We found a mating pair from China pictured on FlickR, but alas, only the general identification is provided.  Perhaps one of our readers will be able to provide better information.

Letter 36 – Wasp Moth from Costa Rica: Belemnia inaurata

 

Subject:  What’s this wasp moth called
Geographic location of the bug:  The Southern Pacific coast of Costa Rica
Date: 06/30/2018
Time: 10:30 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I’d love to know what species this wasp moth is. I took these photos.
How you want your letter signed:  Len Greene

Wasp Moth

Hi Len,
This Tiger Moth in the subtribe Euchromiina, the group commonly called Wasp Moth, has eluded us in terms of a species identification, but we believe based on this image on Revolvy representing the genus
Cyanopepla, and this image on Bold Systems that the genus Cyanopepla might be correct.  We will contact Arctiid expert Julian Donahue to get his opinion.  Your images are gorgeous.

Wasp Moth

Thank you for your response and compliment!  I’d love it if you’d keep me updated on any further identification of the genus.  I have more photos of unique and beautiful insects that I have photographed on my farm in Costa Rica that I’d be glad share with you if you’d like.
Pura Vida!

Julian Donahue provides an identification.
Hi Daniel,
This is Belemnia inaurata, presumably subspecies inaurata. Although Hampson treated it as an arctiid, it has been transferred to the Ctenuchina (now treated as a subtribe of the tribe Arctiini, subfamily Arctiinae of the family Erebidae–my ctenuchids don’t get any respect any more!)
This diurnal moth is frequently encountered in Costa Rica as it visits plants rich in pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs), such Ageratum (which this plant may be, if it’s blue) and Eupatorium (the latter has been split into multiple genera, such as Conoclinium and Chromolaena, both of which I have in my butterfly & moth garden).
Nice pics. Thanks for the break from witnessing the cascading collapse of everything our nation stands for.
Julian

Ed. Note:  Here is an image of Belemnia inaurata from FlickR.

Letter 37 – Wasp Moth from India

 

Subject:  Please indentify this insect
Geographic location of the bug:  Goa india
Date: 10/31/2018
Time: 12:09 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This bug/bee/moth has colour codes like a resistor. Width about 1.5 inch
How you want your letter signed:  Ap

Wasp Moth

Dear Ap,
This is one of the diurnal Tiger Moths in the subtribe Ctenuchina, a group sometimes called Wasp Moths as many are effective wasp mimics.  Though your image has some serious degradation, the colors and markings are defined enough for us to have found what we believe to be a matching image of 
Euchromia elegantissima on FlickR,  though we would not discount that it might be Euchromia polymena.

Letter 38 – Wasp Moth from Paraguay is in genus Macrocneme

 

Subject:  Request
Geographic location of the bug:  Asunción, Paraguay
Date: 07/01/2019
Time: 07:27 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  We found this bug in class. I suspect that it’s some kind of wasp. Please help me identify it.
How you want your letter signed:  Juan Espinoza

Wasp Moth

Dear Juan,
This is a Wasp Moth, but we have not been able to identify the species.  We will see if Arctiinae expert Julian Donahue can assist with a genus or species identification.

Thank you for your response! I’ll be waiting to hear from you about the moth wasp.

Update:  Julian Donahue responds.
Hi Daniel,
It’s a species of Macrocneme. Quite a few species in the genus, very similar in appearance, but separable by genitalia. In fact, the key to species in the revision of the genus by Dietz in 1994 is based on male genitalia!
The current classification is now: Lepidoptera: Erebidae: Arctiinae: Arctiini: Euchromiina: Macrocneme.
My, how they’ve demoted the ctenuchids!
Anxiously awaiting the onset of the monsoon,
Julian

Ed. Note:  See Fauna of Paraguay.

Letter 39 – Wasp Moth from Costa Rica

 

Subject:  Maybe Cosmosoma but which species?
Geographic location of the bug:  Costa Rica (Paraiso Quetzal Lodge)
Date: 02/13/2020
Time: 07:47 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  We saw this bug in Costa Rica near the Paraiso Quetzal Lodge in February. I think it’s a Cosmosoma but I didn’t find the species. Looks like this one: http://www.zonacharrua.com/butterflies/Andes-Cosmosomanrsubflamma.htm
But I’m not sure it’s possible to have a subflamma in Costa Rica.
How you want your letter signed:  JdA

Wasp Moth: Homoeocera gigantea

Dear JdA,
While you are correct that this is a Wasp Moth in the subfamily Arctiinae, we do not believe you have the correct genus.  We believe based on images posted to Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute that this is
Homoeocera gigantea.

Letter 40 – Wasp Moth from Costa Rica

 

Subject: Zach Meikamp wants to know about this seven year old memory
Geographic location of the bug:  Costa Rica (Central)
Date: 04/04/2021
Time: 04:35 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello. A pic came up in my memories on my phone from 7 years ago. It was a moth I believe and it was strikingly beautiful. None of the local friends could identify it. It’s driving me crazy what it is and I have searched up and down the internet to find it but have yet to succeed. What do you think?
How you want your letter signed:  Thank you.. Zach M

Wasp Moth is Cyanopepla species

Dear Zach M,
This is a positively gorgeous Wasp Moth in the subtribe Ctenuchina, and we have several gorgeous individuals of different species of Wasp Moths on our site from Costa Rica.   Though our initial search did not turn up a conclusive visual match, this is quite close match to the fantasy butterfly wings being sported by Melanie on the Irish Chain.  Luckily, we have a close friend Lepidopterist Julian Donahue who is an expert on Arctiids and we will see if he recognizes your beautiful Wasp Moth.

Update 4/8/2021:  Julian Donahue Responds
It appears to be a species of Cyanopepla, but I need to see the abdomen and hindwings; it could be a form of C. arrogans, C. submacula, or something else.
Julian P. Donahue

Letter 2 – Wasp Moth

 

What’s this bug?
It’s only about an inch long, dark iridescent blue body, and white tips on the antennae. I found it sitting on a shady leaf in my yard. Would love to have it identified.
Thanks!
Dori

Hi Dori,
This is one of the Clearwing Wasp Mimic Moths. It appears to be Synanthedon albicornis which ranges from New England to Oregon. The larvae bore into the trunks of willow trees.

Letter 3 – Wasp Moth: Squash Vine Borer

 

Bugman,
This guy flew into my garden, he was about 3/4 of an inch in length.
Any idea what he is?
Thank you,
Jenny Brinker
Cincinnati, Ohio

Hi Jenny,
This is one of the Wasp Moths from the Family Sesiidae. More specifically, it is the Squash Vine Borer, Melittia satyriniformis. The larvae bore into squash and pumpkin vines, eating out the pith and causing the plants to die. The adults mimic wasps as a protective coloration.

Oh. That’s not good. I have pumpkin plants growing!! Thank you so much for the information. So know I know he is a BAD guy! Thanks again, Jenny

Letter 4 – Wasp Moth: Fireweed Borer

 

some type of clearwing moth from Fairbanks Alaska
Hello,
I took a picture of this little guy on one of the leaves of my tomato plant. He was less than an inch long.
Erik Anderson
Education Associate
Alaska Department of Fish & Game
Fairbanks Alaska

Hi Erik,
Your Clearwing Moth is one of the Wasp Moths in the Family Sesiidae. They often have dark bodies banded with yellow, red or white. Adults fly diuranlly and visit flowers where the wasp mimicry is a protective coloration. The caterpillars are borers and sometimes do considerable damage in orchards where they damage stems, roots and bark. Sorry we can’t give you an exact species.

Ed Note:
January 17, 2009
Thanks to taftw who identified many of our unidentified Sesiid Wasp Moths today, we now know that this is a Fireweed Borer, Albuna pyramidalis.  The species is well represented on BugGuide
.

Letter 5 – Exotic Invader: Wasp Mimic Moth

 

Pryeria sinica
Hi there…what an interesting site! I first visited about a month ago hoping to identify these wasp-mimicking moths that were swarming around the Euonymus hedgerow in back of my townhouse in central Maryland . For the entire month of October and the first two weeks of November, I had to run to my car with a jacket over my head because the infestation was so thick! I just learned that this species is Pryeria sinica and it is native to the Far East. Apparently it is a newly-identified pest species in my area and kind of a big deal! I thought others in the Maryland/Virginia area might find this useful, as there isn’t very much information available. I read something from the Maryland Dept. of Agriculture that says it’s crucial to report these guys if you see them. I wish I’d known that a few weeks ago. The invaders all died about two weeks ago when it really started to get cold. Attached are the best images I could find…I’m sorry, I don’t have the ability to thumbnail them.
Carley C. Heelen

Pryeria sinica male Pryeria sinica female

Hi Carley,
Thanks for the wealth of information and your photos. They are a welcome addition to our site.

I should add that those are not my photos, because it didn’t occur to me to take any. I found them on this site: http://everest.ento.vt.edu/~idlab/newmoth/newmoth.htm
Carley C. Heelen

Letter 6 – Wasp MImic Moth from Australia

 

A nice waspy mothy thing from The Hunter Valley in NSW, Australia
Hi Bugman,
I love your site; was lost in it for more than an hour the other day checking out your caterpillars. Today we drove out from Sydney to The Hunter Valley where I acquired this lovely broach. I scoured your moth pages, but couldn’t find anything that matched exactly, but it looks like a clearwing wasp-mimicking thing – what do you think? I hope you like it!
Regards,
Nadia

Hi Nadia,
We agree that this is one of the Wasp Mimic Arctiids or Tiger Moths. Sorry we can’t help with the species, but we love your photograph.

Letter 7 – Wasp Moth

 

“Yellow Jacket” Moth
Here is a moth that looks just like a yellow jacket. It even has a fake yellow jacket mouth. Hope you enjoy!
David
Eagle River, AK

Hi David,
We recently met a lepidopterist, Julian P. Donohue, who specializes in Wasp Moths. We will see if he can give us an exact species on this Wasp Moth. Here is what Julian wrote back: “Hi Daniel, The moth is indeed a wasp moth, family Sesiidae (formerly called Aegeriidae). All my references for this family are at the Museum, so I can’t begin to start putting a name on it. Where it was found would be a major help–there are many species that are very similar in appearance, but all don’t occur in the same places. The larvae of all are borers in roots and stems of various plants. The hostplant may be specific for a particular species, while other species feed as larvae on a variety of different plants. Some are severe pests of horticultural, ornamental, and agricultural crops. In the last two decades great strides have been made in studying the distribution and taxonomy of this family, using traps with synthetic pheromones as an attractant (most are dayfliers and very difficult to collect with a net–if you can even see them!). The pheromones were originally developed for use with sticky traps to detect the presence of pest species (e.g., peach tree borer), so growers would know when (and whether) to institute control measures. In haste, Julian “

Letter 8 – No longer Unknown Wasp Moth identified as Double Tufted Wasp Moth

 

Wasp moth or wasp moth mimic
This photo was taken by Jim Spencer in Shark Valley, Everglades National Park. Is it a wasp moth or wasp moth mimic? Hope you can help. Thanks,
Linda Evans

Hi Linda,
This is a Wasp Moth in the Tribe Euchromiini, but we have not had luck identifying the species. We are going to check with our neighbor Julian who is an expert in this group of moths. We called Julian and he gave us a common and scientific name: Double Tufted Wasp Moth, Didasys belae.

Letter 9 – Texas Wasp Moth from Mexico

 

wasp?
Sorry, the pic didn’t attach. I’ll try again. Found this picture on a website message board. It says this insect was on a leaf by a swimming pool near Cancun, Mexico. Is this a wasp? They said they have just started seeing these recently there and that they seem to be in pairs. thanks
Danni

Hi Danni,
We did not realize until we had begun posting this that you are not the originator of the image. This is some species of Wasp Mimic Moth in the family Sesiidae.

Update:  February 15, 2016
Thanks to a new query, we realized that though we made some corrections to this posting in the past, we did not include the name, the Texas Wasp Moth,
Horama panthalon.

Letter 10 – Wasp Moth from Puerto Rico

 

New Photos…
Hey there Bugman,
Here is a photo of a wasp-moth my boyfriend took a while ago, or atleast i believe it is a wasp-moth. he has other insect related photos in his photostream if you would like to see. Thanks
Jeighmee
All of the photos in the stream where taken in Puerto Rico, the wasp-moth more specifically was taken in the southern part of Puerto Rico.

Hi Jeighmee,
We will contact lepidopterist Julian Donahue to see if he can correctly identify your moth.

Update: (06/23/2008)
Appears to be Horama pretus. Dorsal view at: http://www.inra.fr/internet/Produits/PAPILLON/arctiid/texteng/h_pretus.htm The related species, Horama panthalon texana, occurs in the U.S.
Julian

Letter 11 – Wasp Moth from the Virgin Islands: Horama pretus

 

Common name of wasp moth
February 22, 2010
Hi Daniel,
Here are two photos of the wasp moth Horama pretus, photographed in my room on Necker Is., BVI on Dec. 26, 2009. Is there a common name for this moth?
Donald Gudehus
Necker Island, British Virgin Islands

Wasp Moth: Horama pretus

Hi Donald,
Common names are not really regulated, and one insect might have numerous common names, and the same common name might also be used for numerous insects.  To the best of our knowledge, Horama pretus does not have a common name other than the general Wasp Moth one.  Despite not being able to provide you with a common name, we are thrilled to have your photos of this lovely Arctiid.  We may try to contact Julian Donahue, an expert in the Arctiidae, to find out if he is aware of a common name.

Wasp Moth: Horama pretus

Letter 12 – Wasp Moth from Costa Rica: Histioea meldolae

 

Interesting Costa Rican Wasp Moths
April 11, 2010
On our recent trip to Costa Rica we spent a few days at the Las Cruces Biological Station/Wilson Botanical Gardens, a magnificent preserve and research facility run by the Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS). Part of my daily routine was to go night-lighting for bugs after dinner, a practice I would highly recommend to anyone who is interested in insects and isn’t too squeamish about tramping around in the dark. The station also provides a UV light screen for guests that are interested in viewing nocturnal insects, and this beautiful moth showed up one night on the underside of a nearby leaf. I am fairly certain the species is Histioea meldolae (Arctiidae: Ctenuchinae) and its startling appearance caught me a little off guard. Such brightly colored moths are usually diurnal (day fliers), the colors intended either for sexual communication or sending a warning to potential predators of toxicity or bad taste (aposematic coloration). This is indeed very common among Tiger Moths (Arctiidae) in general, including many Ctenuchid moths. Many Ctenuchids are also very good a mimicking menacing wasps, hence the common group name “Wasp Moths”. This one, however, didn’t look much like a wasp to me and appeared to be nocturnal, or perhaps crepuscular (dusk or dawn flier) which could explain the bright colors. It was also very difficult to identify and I eventually tracked it down by digging deeply into some very old scientific literature.  I could find no photos of this beautiful species on the internet, a fact that I took as further indication that it probably hides by day and is probably uncommon and/or very secretive. If anyone out there knows anything about this moth I would greatly appreciate a comment. Regards.
Karl

Wasp Moth: Histioea meldolae

Hi Karl,
As luck would have it, we are a neighbor and good friend of Arctiid expert Julian Donahue.  I will contact him immediately to see what information he is able to provide.

Julian Provides some Information
Daniel,
Your contributor nailed the identification. Histioea meldolae was described in 1876 by Butler, based on specimens from Venezuela and Trinidad; Hampson subsequently restricted the type locality to Trinidad, and also reported the occurrence of the species from Chiriqui, Panama (Godman-Salvin collection).
There are currently 14 species recognized in the genus; all are South American, except for H. meldolae–this may be the first record of the genus north of Panama, although the INBIO collection in Costa Rica may have specimens.
Despite the comprehensive collection of Costa Rican arctiids at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, we have no specimens of this species from Costa Rica (all of ours are from Venezuela). I have never collected any moths in this genus myself, so have no personal knowledge of their behavior. We have good series of some species, but no information on whether they were reared or collected in the field–and at what time of day.
Hope this helps,
Julian P. Donahue

Letter 13 – Wasp Moth from Costa Rica: Isanthrene crabroniformis

 

Interesting Costa Rican Wasp Moths – Part 2
April 13, 2010
The Ctenuchid moths (Arctiidae: Ctenuchinae, if you ignore recent taxonomic revisions) are often referred to as Wasp Moths for their tendency to mimic wasps. This mimicry is not always obvious, but it certainly is in the case of Isanthrene crabroniformis. In fact, this female had me completely fooled when a photographed it and it was not until I was reviewing my photos that evening that I realized it was actually a moth. This individual was one of several I spotted at the Las Cruces Biological Station/Wilson Botanical Gardens, Costa Rica. They were quite large, with an estimated wingspan of about 40-50 mm. The species does not appear to be well documented, not unusual for a tropical species, and the published range is given as Panama and Colombia. I suppose Costa Rica could be added to that list, and I suspect that its actual range may extend to other countries as well. Regards.
Karl

Isanthrene crabroniformis

Hi Karl,
My, your photos of Costa Rican Arctiids are stunning.  Thanks for doing the identification and sending us the photos.

Letter 14 – Wasp Moth: Possibly Douglas Fir Pitch Moth

 

What is this? I was told it was Stump F—er
April 25, 2010
What is this? I was told it was Stump F—er
I live in California, this bug was on my floor today, it could fly a little.
Jody
Mill Valley, CA

Wasp Moth:  Douglas Fir Pitch Moth???

Hi Jody,
This is actually a moth in the family Sessiidae, the members of which are commonly called Clearwing Moths or Wasp Moths, and they are very effective mimics of wasps.  The larvae bore in the stems, roots and sometimes trunks of host plants, often causing severe damage if the plant’s ability to transport moisture and nutrients is compromised.  The person who supplied you with the colorful edited common name may be able to point you in the direction of the host plant which may help with a species identification.  We believe your moth is in the genus Carmenta based on images posted to BugGuide and the Moth Photographers Group website.

Thanks for the information. I did ask my friend who has a degree in forestry, what sort of trees this moth likes and he said Oaks, Bay, Fir and Redwood..I have all of those!
Jody

Thanks for the additional information Jody.  We believe your moth looks very similar to the Douglas Fir Pitch Moth, Synanthedon novaroensis, which is pictured on BugGuide and mentioned on the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program UC IPM Online.  A live specimen is picture on the pdf on the University of Washington College of Forest Resources website.  The living specimen pictured on the Moth Photographers Group website is a very close match, and we are relatively confident that you submitted an image of a Douglas Fir Pitch Moth.

Letter 15 – Wasp Moth from Costa Rica

 

Red, blue and black wasp Moth with white ‘boots’
July 12, 2010
This morning I was sitting on a bench in Sarchi, Costa Rica when a brightly coloured moth landed on my handed and proceeded to walk from hand to hand for roughly five minutes. After spending an hour doing some research I believe I’ve narrowed it down to the Cosmosoma genus and it most closely resembles the Scarlet Bodied Wasp Moth, but I’m interested to know the exact species.
Thanks,
Edward
Sarchi, Costa Rica

Wasp Moth

Hi Edward,
We agree that this is a Wasp Moth and it is most probably in the genus Cosmosoma.  We are going to try to check with Julian Donahue, an expert in Arctiids and a traveler to Costa Rica, to see if he can provide information on the species.

Unknown Wasp Moth

Very much a distinct species, as I so very subtly pointed out to you last night.
The Natural History Museum’s Costa Rican specimens of this moth are identified as “Cosmosoma” sp. (?new), near regia.
Quotation marks because the moth is currently placed in Cosmosoma, but that may not be the correct genus.
Regia was described from Venezuela; a closely related species, bogotense, with reduced hyaline wing patches, was described from Colombia.
So it would be safe to say that this moth appears to be what is currently recognized as Cosmosoma regia (Schaus, 1894).
Julian P. Donahue

Karl provides some information
July 14, 2010
Hi Daniel and Edward:
Hopefully we can get a confirmation (or correction) from Julian Donahue, but I am going to suggest that it is Cosmosoma regia.  I couldn’t find any online photos to compare to, but according to the identification keys and detailed descriptions provided by Hampson (1898) only C. regia and C. bogotense match most of the features visible in these excellent photos. Of the two, C. regia matches almost perfectly and is the only species with white tarsi, or ‘boots’.   The localities given are Venezuela and Peru for C. regia and Colombia for C. bogotense, but I doubt that either of these represent an accurate range. Regards.  Karl
http://www.archive.org/stream/catalogueoflepid01brituoft#page/254/mode/1up/search/IX
http://www.archive.org/stream/catalogueoflepid13brit#page/n49/mode/2up (see Fig. 10)

Letter 16 – Wasp Moth from Australia: Euchromia creusa

 

Unknown flying Australian Bug
Location: Australia
January 15, 2011 6:18 pm
Dead bug on car. Any idea what it is??
Signature: Ruth

Wasp Moth from Australia

Hi Ruth,
This is a Wasp Moth in the subtribe
Euchromiina and it does not have a common name.  We identified it as Euchromia creusa on the Australian Moths website.

Letter 17 – Wasp Moth from Costa Rica: Scelilasia erythrozonata

 

Moth from Costa Rica
Location: Valle del Silencio, La Amistad, Costa Rica
January 25, 2011 3:52 pm
Dear Bugman
Last September,one evening,i found during an expedition in the Valle del Silencio, Costa Rica, this rather big moth. Unfortunately, i only managed to take one picture, because it was moving very nervous. Despite my efforts to identify that moth, i haven’t found a picture of one that would really look similar. The Valle del Silencio is on 2500 m above sea level, and there, it is raining up to 359 days a year. I would be very happy if you could help me with this beautiful insect! Thank you very much..
Signature: Michael Schoy, Switzerland

Wasp Moth from Costa Rica

Hi Michael,
Even with this poor camera angle we are able to tell that this is a Wasp Moth in the subtribe Euchromiina.  We will try to identify the species.

Update:  January 21, 2015
We just received a comment that this is
Scelilasia erythrozonata.  We found and image of a mounted specimen on Taxonomy Browser and a matching photo on the German site Fotoreisenberichte.de.

Letter 18 – Maid Alice Wasp Moth from Namibia

 

Namibian Moth???
Location: Windhoek, Namibia
February 21, 2011 5:27 pm
Dear All,
I just found this insect and I have never seen anyting like it before – I don’t think its a butterfly but could it be a moth of some sort??
I found it during the day but we have had a very heavy rainy season (not sure if this is helpfull in any way)and its around 20mm in length and about 40mm wide.
Any advce in this regard ould be greatly appreciated.
Signature: Ernst A. Schnaitmann

Maid Alice Wasp Moth

Hi Ernst,
You are correct that this is a Moth.  We believe it is a Wasp Moth in the subtribe Euchromiina, so named because the diurnal adults mimic wasps.  We do not have time to try to identify the species at the moment, but perhaps on of our readers will have some success while we are at work.

Maid Alice Wasp Moth

Karl provides an identification
Hi Daniel and Ernst:
This looks like another ‘Handmaiden’ wasp moth, probably Amata alicia. Check out a previous WTB? post by Gabriel on November 18, 2010, or this excellent photo of a Maid Alice on the African Moths website. Regards. Karl

Letter 19 – Wasp Moth from Senegal

 

Flying bug seen in Senegal
Location: Cap Skirring, Senegal, Africa
March 6, 2011 6:52 pm
Hi Daniel,
Lynne Nerenbaum here. I met you at the former Studio P and also know Lisa. When I was recently in Cap Skirring in southern Senegal I saw this bug/moth/butterfly. I am hoping you can identify it. I wasn’t able to.
Thank you and hope you’re well!
Signature: Lynne

Wasp Moth

Hi Lynne,
Nice to hear from you.  Your creature is a Wasp Moth in the subtribe Euchromiina, commonly called Wasp Moths because they are diurnal and mimic wasps for protection.  We will try to identify the species for you.  There are many North American Wasp Moths, with Florida probably having the most diversity, and you can see images of North American members of the subtribe Euchromiina on BugGuide.

Letter 20 – Wasp Moth from Mexico

 

Whats this bug
Location: Cancun Mexico
April 27, 2011 4:01 pm
Took this picture in January in Mexico South ofCancun in 2007
Looks like a fly?, Antennae like a butterfly, and weird fuzzy legs….
Very cool though
Signature: Sean

Clearwing Moth from Mexico

Hi Sean,
What a positively gorgeous Clearwing (we know it seems like a misnomer) Wasp Mimic Moth in the family Sesiidae, an interesting group nicely represented on BugGuide. We will try to correctly identify the species for you.  Perhaps Karl will give it a shot.

Correction Courtesy of Karl
Hi Daniel and Sean:
Wasp Moth is a somewhat generic term used to describe wasp mimicking moths from several families. This one is actually an Arctiid moth (Erebidae: Arctiinae), Horama plumipes, which ranges throughout Central America and as far north as southern Texas. Regards.  Karl

Letter 21 – Wasp Moth from Mexico

 

Isanthrene crabroniformis
Location:  Colima, Mexico
Wednesday, December 14, 2011 11:32 AM
i gave the website form another try and let it work for 5 minutes or so with no luck.
my message is:  Re Isanthrene moth sp.
hello there, here is what i’ve narrowed down to be an Isanthrene moth but would like to know the species.  according to zipcodezoo, there are 53 species similar to Isanthrene crabroniformis, one of which is Isanthrene colimae which i’m thinking it may be (because i live in colima) but cannot find images or descriptions for I. colimae.  what do you think? thank you, beverly
geographical location is colima, mexico elev 545m.
thank you, beverly

Wasp Moth

i’m really not going to be a pest daniel but here is another image view of isanthrene sp. showing all black legs (as opposed to black and red or only red).  i figure if zipcodezoo knows that I.colimae is similar to I.crabroniformis, there must be an image or description of I.colimae
somewhere.  i looked at maybe 10 different sites and did not find it.  by the way, i estimate the body length (not including the antennae) to be between 4 – 5 cm long.  regards, beverly
thank you daniel…i understand there are millions of bugs and only three of you so no need to be sorry and i appreciate you being there and doing what you are doing, beverly

Wasp Moth

Hi Beverly,
Thanks for your persistence in getting these images to us.  We haven’t the time to substantiate the identification at the moment.  It is final examination period and our schedules are filled, but we are posting and we hope to get Julian Donahue’s opinion on the species.  We have photos of
Isanthrene crabroniformis in our archives.  The leg coloration might indicate a different species.

Thank you, Daniel, and good luck with finals.  I’ve looked at the Isanthrene crabroniformis images at your website and thought that my bug must be a similar but different species.  I am not as familiar with the habits of moths as I am with butterflies, for example, their migratory patterns and how far they are likely to stray from a range.  I not sure if I remember correctly the general reported range of I. crabroniformis but I think the images I’ve seen of it are in the areas of Costa Rica/Guatamala.  I would be most interested and appreciative of any information you might come up with as your time permits. In the meantime I will pursue possible information sources here in Mexico’s universities but that will have to wait until after the holidays (people take their holidays very seriously here 🙂

Hi again Beverly,
Seems you were right about the legs.  See Julian Donahue’s response.

Julian Donahue responds
Not I. crabroniformis (which has red legs), but most likely Isanthrene pyrocera Hampson, 1898, described from Mexico.
Another species. I. colimae, was described from (wait for it……) Colima; most likely it is figured in Seitz, Macrolepidoptera of the World, but I don’t have that at hand.
Julian

Funny Daniel…both of the images I sent to you are in Google images but described as I. crabroniformis and Julian D. says that it is not I.crabroniformis…the images were submitted by your website and I don’t mind at all, but shouldn’t they be identified as I. species or I. pyrocera or colimae?  I like that the images are out there for people to see (and maybe comment on) but we shouldn’t send images that are incorrectly identified should we?  can this be corrected?  Thank you, Beverly

Hi Beverly,
This recent email has us confused.  Please clarify what you mean that the images you sent are in Google images.  We were under the assumption that you took the photos.  When we received your original email, we titled the images as I. crabroniformis, which is incorrect unless Julian, an expert in Arctiids, is mistaken. 

Hi Daniel…well, if you google I.pyocera or I. colimae and opt for “images”  the images i sent to you will appear as having been sent by whatsthatbug.com and they will be labeled as l. crabroniformis as they are labeled on your website (as least the last time i looked).  i don’t know how all of this works, but google images must take the subject line of the emails i sent to you and match it with the photo.  this would explain why there are so many outrageous errors in the google images database.  i don’t know.  i tried to correct this at “google images”, but there was no option for corrections…only options relating to reporting “obscene material”.  i most certainly did take the photos and sent them to you via email and i guess google automatically does the rest if you are not aware of sending the images to google.  either way, it is not a copyright problem, as far as i am concerned you can use the images as you like.  what is a bit disturbing is that google must somehow take the images from your website, rather than your website initiating the use of your website content, which is resulting in erroneous information.  it is the erroneous information that bugs (sorry) me.
are the images still titled as I.crabroniformis on your website as they were earlier today?  i’ll take a look.
yes, that is my point exactly.  the images are not correctly identified per Julian’s information (either on your website or in google images) and i have confidence in the information he provided (i.e. I.pyrocera or I. colimae).  certainly, after looking at the prior images of I.crabroniformis posted to your site, i learned (prior to sending my images to your site) that my bug is not I. crabroniformis but one of the 53 related species as listed at the zipcodezoo website.  i do not in the least believe that Julian is mistaken.
i hope this is clear and if not, please let me know.  if not, simply google I.pyrocera (option, images) and take a look at what you find.  i had always assumed that people (or photo owners) submitted images for posting on google, but evidently that assumption is not correct and google simply helps itself and does a very bad job of it.
I will do my best to clarify whatever questions you have.  what is important to me is that the images be correctly identified (to the entire world) per that provided by Julian Donahue.  regards, Beverly

Thanks for the clarification Beverly.  The google images search is most likely because I retitled your images as Isanthrene crabroniformis when I posted them to What’s That Bug? originally.  To go back and rename them would require reposting, which we don’t believe warrants the effort since it changes nothing on our own site and would only change matters on the search engines which you have already indicated are often inaccurate.  

Karl provides a similar explanation
Hi Daniel:
When you do a Google Images search for Isanthrene crabroniformis Beverly’s photos pop up with your site and her original name given to the photo. If you click on it it does take you to WTB and her post with all the correct information. I believe she is just concerned that the image that appears in Google Images is still tagged with the wrong name. To correct this you would have to change the names on the posted photos. I hope this helps, but perhaps I have confused things more.  Karl

Thanks Daniel.  I’m okay with this.  I think if people are interested, they will click on the image and be directed to your site and the conversations.  Might be something to keep in mind for the future though.  Regards, Beverly

Letter 22 – Wasp Moth

 

can you help identify this bug?
Location: houston/cypress, texas
December 2, 2011 11:23 am
We were curious what kind of bug this is. Any ideas?
Signature: thank you, jennifer

Unknown Wasp Moth

Dear Jennifer,
This is actually a Moth that mimics a wasp for protection.  We cannot determine for certain from your photo if this is a member of the family Sesiidae (see BugGuide), our first choice, or of the Tiger Moth subtribe Euchromiina (see BugGuide).  The Moth Photographers Grouphas many similar looking members in the family Sesiidae, commonly called the Clearwing Moths, though we cannot find an exact match.  The markings on the legs and antennae are quite distinctive in your photographs.

Unknown Wasp Moth

Karl provides an identification
Hi Daniel and Jennifer:
It looks like Horama plumipes. The taxonomy for Wasp Moths (as well as Tiger Moths and related taxa) is a little confusing as the whole group has been undergoing revision. Some internet sites still classify the genus Horama as Family Arctiidae: Subfamily  Ctenuchinae, but most have now switched to Family Erebidae: Subfamily Archtiinae. This includes Bugguide (which includes H. panthalon [the Texas Wasp Moth] but doesn’t appear to have any photos H. plumipes) and the Butterflies and Moths of North America site (but again, no images). Horama plumipes is primarily a Central American species, ranging from Southern Texas to Nicaragua. I suspect it is rather rare in Texas. You can also check out the Moth Photographers Group or the site for the Area de Conservación Guanacaste (ACG), Costa Rica. Regards. Karl

 

Letter 23 – Wasp Mimic Moth from Netherlands

 

Subject: Bug with 2 yellow bands and blue end
Location: Oldenzaal, The Netherlands
June 27, 2012 8:21 am
I would be happy if anyone could tell me the name of this insect.
Signature: Hi,

Wasp Mimic Moth

Hi,
This is a wasp mimic moth, either Sesiidae or Arctinae.  No time to research.  We’re skipping town.

 

Letter 24 – Wasp Moth from Puerto Rico is Nyridela chalciope

 

Subject: Shiny wasp-moth?
Location: Guaynabo, Puerto Rico
December 4, 2012 12:44 pm
Heya!
Took a picture of this cool-looking dude at a friend’s apartment in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico at the beginning of December. Around an inch in length, and completely unafraid/uncaring of my camera.
I’ve done some digging and some people have suggested I check Sessidae or Euchromiina, but I haven’t had much luck in finding this specific guy yet.
Signature: Gravekeeper

Wasp Moth: Nyridela chalciope

Dear Gravekeeper,
You got good advice.  We identified this Euchromiinid as
Nyridela chalciope on the Moth Photographer Groups Moths of Puerto Rico Moths section.  We then confirmed its identity on the Moths of Jamaica website where we read that:  “Method of identification: description in Hampson (1898) p. 219 (as corrected by Forbes (1930)) and comparison with black and white illustration of similar N. xanthocera in Hampson (1898).
Notes: this species is virtually identical to N. xanthocera, except that the antennae are completely yellow in the case of xanthocera whereas in chalciope they are black along most of their length and only yellow at their apices .”  Based on that description, it would appear that you have
Nyridela xanthocera and the Belize Moths website appears to confirm that.  Moth PHotographers Group Antilles Checklist only includes N. chalciope and not N. xanthocera, so we will have to backtrack and say that this is Nyridela chalciope.  The mounted specimen on the Harvard University’s Caribbean Insects page has all yellow antennae.  We are going to trust Harvard on this one despite some conflicting information in other places.  Though the species name may be debatable, we are at least confident we have the correct genus.   

Hello,
That was very quick and thorough! Thanks for the help, I’ll let the guys at the WhatsThisBug subreddit (where I initially posted the picture) know the answer–they were just as stumped on the species. I carry my camera everywhere, and I always jump at the opportunity to take pictures of strange critters I stumble upon– you’ll definitely hear from me again!
Cheers,
Eduardo Rivera

Thanks Eduardo,
Can you please provide us with a link to WhatsThisBug because we are curious about our competition.

Heya,
No problem. Reddit is the biggest forum on the internet, and is populated by thousands of very specific subforums on every topic imaginable (from video gaming to politics to celebrities to sciences). One such sub-reddit is What’s This Bug?, at http://reddit.com/r/whatsthisbug . You post an image and location, and the visitors of the forum will try and help with identification. Most are hobbyists and aficionados, not entomologists–they just really like bugs!

Thanks for the information Eduardo.

 

Letter 25 – Wasp Mimic Tiger Moth from Peru: Euclera species

 

Subject: Moth sp.
Location: Amazon Manu Lodge, Madre de Dios, Peru
March 12, 2013 8:49 am
I think this is a moth, but I can’t find anything like it on internet. Maybe some kind of Cosmosoma?
Photo taken November 11, 2009.
Signature: Kristian

Tiger Moth
Tiger Moth

Hi Kristian,
We don’t necessarily agree that your moth is in the genus
Cosmosoma, but we do agree that it is most likely in the subtribe Euchromiina that includes that genus.  You can see the genera included in the subtribe Euchromiina on BugGuide.  We thought we were lucky when we discovered the Moth PHotographers Group Arctiid Moths of Peru by Jim Vargo page, but this species is not pictured there.  We will check with our friend and Arctiid specialist Julian Donahue to see if he recognizes your moth, one of the Wasp Mimic species of Tiger Moths.

Tiger Moth
Tiger Moth

Got me!! as the amateur I am in this jungle of creatures! 🙂 Anyway, the Cosmosoma was just a desperate struggle in the dark. I came across a site on the net with a lot of beautiful photos of butterflies and moths. By watching these photos the Cosmosoma was the closest I could come my moth. But most of them (on the photos on this site) had clear (transparent) wings, but with “glowing” spots on body and wings, like the one on my photo. Looking forward to hear from you if Julian Donahue can solve the problem.
Thanks in advance!
Kristian

Julian Donahue Responds
Hi Daniel,
I just don’t have time to try to look this one up right now. All I can say is it’s a female ctenuchine.
I’m copying this, with images, to a ctenuchid expert colleague in São Paulo, Lívia Pinheiro, to see if she can come up with a name for you. (She might be a good future resource for names on South American ctenuchines.)
Julian

Julian writes again
Daniel,
Here’s an ID for you, from Livia Pinheiro.
Julian

Hi Julian,
It is from the genus Euclera. I don’t know the species, it is identified as E. hoffmannsi in MUSM, but I don’t know based on what. I have the photo of the type of E. hoffmannsi, it is a male and it looks very alike it, and as far as I remember there is sexual dimorphism on the hindwings, so it is possible that the identification is correct.
Cheers


Letter 26 – Wasp Moth from Brazil

 

Subject: Really beautiful!
Location: São Paulo, Brazil
April 7, 2013 11:16 am
Hello,
I’ve taken these on the last few days on São Paulo, Brazil.
Could someone help identifying them?
Thanks and best regards
Signature: david.lynch

Wasp Moth
Wasp Moth

Dear David Lynch,
This is a Wasp Moth in the Tiger Moth tribe Arctiini, and we believe it is either in one of the subtribes Ctenuchina or Euchromiina.  Wasp Moths have evolved to mimic stinging wasps though the moths themselves have no stinging defense mechanisms.  We found a matching image on Project Noah, and it is only identified as a Wasp Moth Ctenuchinae, which is obsolete taxonomy.  We are sending your photos to Tiger Moth expert Julian Donahue to see if he can provide a species identification.

Wasp Moth
Wasp Moth

Julian Donahue Responds
This is one of my favorite Neotropical ctenuchids: the moth with the fuzzy red racing stripe. It’s in the genus Dinia, either mena (more likely) or eagrus; John Rawlins has been revising the genus but I don’t think it’s been published yet. This moth is demonstrating a behavior common to this group of moths (useful for observing or collecting them): it is sucking the juice from a bruised or wilted plant that contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids, thought to confer protection to the adult moth by making it distasteful to predators. The moths are brightly colored to advertise their distastefulness (aposematism), and many species are diurnal. The most common plants containing these compounds are heliotrope (Heliotropium) and allies in the Boraginaceae, and composites (Asteraceae) related to Eupatorium.
Julian

 

Letter 27 – Wasp Moth from West Africa is Euchromia amoena

 

Subject: Rainbow fly
Location: Freetown, Sierra Leone, West Africa
September 1, 2013 4:16 am
Hi,
I saw this one on new years eve in Freetown, a couple of years ago, do you have any idea what this bug is called.
Thanks
Signature: Brgds

Wasp Moth:  Euchromia amoena
Wasp Moth: Euchromia amoena

Dear Brgds,
This turned out to be a much quicker and easier identification than we anticipated.  This is a Wasp Moth in the subfamily Arctininae, and when we looked up Wasp Moth, we found this similar looking species of Wasp Moth from India,
Euchromia elegantissima.  We then searched that genus in South Africa and found another posting in our archive of your species, Euchromia amoena.

Letter 28 – Wasp Mimic Moth from Sierra Leone may be Euchromia lethe

 

Subject: Please identify this, insect
Location: Sierra Leone
November 24, 2014 9:57 am
Hello,
I’m currently based in Sierra Leone as part of a military op and have had the chance to take pics of a few bugs. I appreciate that you said you won’t be able to identify all pics, so I’ve narrowed it down to just one bug.
Signature: Na

Possibly Euchroma lethe
Possibly Euchroma lethe

Dear Na,
This is one of the diurnal Wasp Mimic Moths in the genus Euchroma, and we believe based on your location and this African Moths posting that it might be Euchroma lethe.  The species is pictured on a Palau stamp where it is given the common name The Basker and the stamp is reproduced on the Colnect site.

Thanks so much,
I’ve had a lot of people impressed by your speedy and knowledgable reply, not to mention, being able to impress two little boys, Francis and Ryan…
Candis

We are happy the youngsters were impressed.

Letter 29 – Unknown Wasp Moth from Costa Rica

 

Subject: Wasp or Moth in Costa Rica
Location: Golfito, Costa Rica
January 29, 2015 1:03 pm
Hello Bugman,
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

Wasp Moth
Wasp Moth

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.)
Julian

Letter 30 – Wasp Moth from US Virgin Islands

 

Subject: Carribean moth
Location: St. John, USVI
April 28, 2015 1:03 pm
Hi there Bugman!
On our recent spring break vacation in St. John, USVI, my son found a beautiful moth, which we have not been able to identify. I have searched online and Robert has combed through all his many bug books to no avail! We also took our pictures to the island’s nature center, but they couldn’t help us either. A professor at the University of Maryland suggested he was one of the tropical tiger moths. After looking through lots of images on your site, I’m guessing it is some type of wasp mimic.
I’ve attached two images of the insect. He was inside our vacation home, which was up a fairly high mountain on St. John. It was small, probably less than an inch long, and about the same across the widest part of its folded wings.
We would appreciate any info you can provide!
Signature: Tamara and Robert Grant

Tiger Moth:  Cosmosoma species
Wasp Moth: Cosmosoma achemon

Dear Tamara and Robert,
This diurnal Tiger Moth is one of the very effective wasp mimics in the genus
Cosmosoma and members of the genus are commonly called Wasp Moths.  We found a matching image on the Puerto Rico Moths page of Moth Photographers Group where it is identified as Cosmosoma achemon.  There is also a nice image on Insetologia, our sister site from Brazil.  Moths of Jamaica lists the range as:  “South America and Greater Antilles.”

Wasp Moth:  Cosmosoma achemon
Wasp Moth: Cosmosoma achemon

Dear Daniel,
Thank you so much for the speedy ID – I can’t wait to tell Robert when he gets home from school today!
Tamara

Letter 31 – Unknown Ctenuchid Wasp Mimic Moth from Brazil

 

Subject: Brazil Wasp Moth (Dinia?)
Location: Fenix, Parana State, Brazil
July 29, 2015 4:10 am
I found a moth similar to the one in my picture, though clearly a different species, here:
2013/04/07/wasp-moth-from-brazil/
The photo I am submitting was taken on the 1st August 2008 in Parana State near the town of Fenix, close to the Ivai river. This one has a slimmer body and a yellow bar across the thorax, but is superficially otherwise similar.
Signature: Patrick

Wasp Mimic Moth
Wasp Mimic Moth

Dear Patrick,
We agree that your moth looks very similar to the
Dinea species you found in our archives, and we also found a similar looking Ctechunid on Project Noah, but it is only identified to the subtribe Ctenuchina.  Perhaps Cesar Crash who runs a sister site in Brazil, Insetologia, will recognize this lovely Wasp Mimic.

Letter 32 – Wasp Moth from India

 

Subject: Can you identify please?
Location: 14°53′54″ N and 15°40′00″ N and longitudes 73°40′33″ E and 74°20′13″ E.
December 13, 2015 9:03 pm
Hi,
I am back once again for a request to identify some lovely bugs. I live in Goa. India. It is a smallest state in India – located on the west coast.
Goa i/ˈɡoʊ.ə/ is a state located in the South western region of India; it is bounded by the state of Maharashtra to the north, and by Karnataka to the east and south, while the Arabian Sea forms its western coast. It is India’s smallest state by area and the fourth smallest by population.
Goa is a former Portuguese province; the Portuguese overseas territory of Portuguese India existed for about 450 years until it was annexed by India in 1961.[4][5]
Goa is visited by large numbers of international and domestic tourists each year for its beaches, places of worship and world heritage architecture. It also has rich flora and fauna, owing to its location on the Western Ghats range, which is classified as a biodiversity hotspot.
Goa encompasses an area of 3,702 km2 (1,429 sq mi). It lies between the latitudes 14°53′54″ N and 15°40′00″ N and longitudes 73°40′33″ E and 74°20′13″ E. Most of Goa is a part of the coastal country known as the Konkan, which is an escarpment rising up to the Western Ghats range of mountains, which separate it from the Deccan Plateau. The highest point is the Sonsogor, with an altitude of 1,167 metres (3,829 ft). Goa has a coastline of 101 km (63 mi).
Signature: Sucheta Potnis

Wasp Moth
Wasp Moth

Dear Sucheta,
Because you have multiple species included in your submission, we need to separate them for posting purposes.  Your first attachment, the most colorful of the three moths, is a Wasp Moth in the tribe Euchromiini, and we believe it is
Euchromia polymena.  Wasp Moths get their common name as many members of the tribe are excellent mimics of stinging insects, though they are themselves harmless.  They are also diurnal in habit.  This image from TrekNature supports our identification.  We will be postdating your submission to go live during our holiday absence from the office later in the month.

Letter 33 – Red Spot Wasp Mimic Moth from Argentina

 

Subject: Moth picture collection
Location: Salta, Argentina
December 15, 2015 4:36 am
Dear WTB,
I have hundreds of pictures of moths from Salta, Argentina waiting for identification as I am not able to do it. Any advice? Would you be interested? I have pics classified by colour and all with a ruler in cm for scale. If interested we could collaborate or perhaps you know people that are interested?
Many thanks and kind regards.
Julio de Castro
Signature: Julio

Red Spot Wasp Mimic Moth
Red Spot Wasp Mimic Moth

Dear Julio,
That is quite some task you have on your hands and we can’t help but to wonder why you would have so many unidentified moth images from such a specific location.  Please provide us some information regarding the origin of this collection of images.  Are they your images?  Why were they taken?  Are they part of a bigger collection that includes identified species?  We try, often unsuccessfully, to post at least five new submissions each day, and if your collection numbers 200 moth images, it would take us well over a month to post them all, and that would mean ignoring all our other submissions.  Winter is rapidly approaching us in the northern hemisphere, and each year we experience a significant drop in identification requests with January and February marking our slowest months, though we also experience an increase in submissions from Australia, South Africa and other southern hemisphere locations at that time.  We cannot promise you that we can identify all your images, but we are quite curious if you send them one moth at a time, using our standard submission form each time, and provide any relevant information on the specimen while it was alive.  Our readership especially likes to see images of colorful and exotic species, and plain brown moths are often very difficult for us to identify as we have no formal training in taxonomy.  Also be aware that we will be away from the office for the holidays between December 21 and January 2, and at that time we will not be responding to any emails during that time.
Now that we have stated all that, we are pleased that we have identified your diurnal Wasp Moth in the tribe Euchromiini as the Red Spot Wasp Mimic Moth,
Cosmosoma teuthras, by first matching an image on the Lepidopteres de Pitangui au Minas Gerais site and then double checking that ID on the Moths of the Amazon and Andes site where it states:  “Cosmosoma teuthras is found from Mexico to Venezuela, and throughout Amazonia and the eastern Andes as far south as Bolivia. …  This is a cloudforest species found at elevations between about 500-2000m.”  We see on Google Maps that Salta is just south of the Bolivia border, and we are well aware that insects do not respect international borders, so the Moths of the Amazon and Andes site should revise their range on the Red Spot Wasp Mimic Moth.

Dear Daniel,
Many thanks for your kind and fast reply. Many thanks for identifying the moth for me. I only included it because the form would not let me advance without an image!!! in any case it is an interesting wasp that I only saw last year in Salta and I thought it wasa kind of a moth!.
Regarding the reason for the picture collection, I bought a small farm in the Yungas area of Salta province. The area is known as “El Gallinato” and there is still quite a bit of wildlife around, including butterflies and moths. For security reasons we leave a neon light on in our verandah and I noted that every morning there were many moths, beetles and other insects. Being a (former?) scientist and nature lover, I started to photograph them every morning! At the beginning it was hard work as there were many “new” species. As time went by, things became easier as repetitions started to occur and now my job is much easier as I probably find 1-2 a day.
As I commute from Zimbabwe and Salta (to avoid the winters), I can only find the moths that hatch let’s say between December and June of each year so I am not able to detect those appearing during the winter although I guess that there are fewer.
Regarding the type of moths, there are all sorts and what I have done in my complete ignorance and with the purpose of saving myself some work, was to group them by colour and by whether they fold the wings or not! Yes, I know, a very amateur way of doing things but I do not like taxonomy!!!
All pictures I have from Salta  are from my farm with a few exceptions of some I may have collected on the entry road but these are mainly butterflies (maybe moths that look like butterflies? or wasps?).
I take your offer and will start posting you moths when I can and then see if you find them interesting. I believe that it is but I will lea ve the final decision to you. In any case, it will keep u busy during your winter “diapause”!!! I will send you another one now and wait for your reply before I flood you with pictures, if u think this is OK.
Thanks again and kind regards.
JC

Letter 34 – Wasp Moth from Mexico

 

Subject:  moth to identify
Geographic location of the bug:  Yucatan Mexico
Date: 12/09/2017
Time: 11:24 AM EDT
This looks a lot like Horama panthalon but there are enough differences on this moth to suggest another species. Any ideas?
How you want your letter signed:  John Guerin

Wasp Moth: Horama panthalon

Dear John,
While we acknowledge there is variation between individuals of the same species, we do not notice any significant differences between the image of the Wasp Moth you submitted and the images previously identified as
Horama panthalon on our site.  Furthermore, the markings on your moth looks the same as the markings on the Texas Wasp Moth in this BugGuide posting.  We may be wrong, but we believe the individuals in our archives, your individual and the postings on BugGuide all represent the same species.

Thank you Daniel. It is very kind of you to look into this. I’m sure you are correct in concluding that it is inter-species variation. I do however find it interesting that all 3 photos of the Yucatan specimens have consistent markings behind the eyes and their “panthalons” are quite large while the Bugguide specimens are also all consistent in having slightly different markings and smaller “panthalons”. Of course, regional variations could explain this and perhaps in another thousand generations or so they may indeed become separate species!!!
Thanks again Daniel, its nice to share bug talk with someone who shares the passion.
John Guerin

Update:  January 14, 2018
Hi Daniel
As a follow up to our last e-mail regarding the identification of the Horama wasp moth species, I am now convinced that the moth I photographed is not Horama panthalon but rather Horama oedippus. Here is a link that has led me to that conclusion.
http://v3.boldsystems.org/index.php/Taxbrowser_Taxonpage?taxid=16417
The photographs are not great but the markings and the size of the panthalons are identical.
I thought you would be interested in this information.
Regards   John

Happy New Year and thanks for the update John.  With that information, we located an image on pBase of Horama oedippus that does indeed look identical to your moth, but interestingly, another image of Horama oedippus posted to pBase has an entirely orange abdomen, which is either an incorrect identification, or an indication that there is much variation in color and markings within the species, or perhaps even sexual dimorphism.  Many similar looking insects, including many butterflies and moths, cannot be reliably identified through observations or even through images, but rather they require actual inspection of the individual, possibly through dissection of the genitalia or by DNA analysis.

 

Letter 35 – Wasp Moth from Thailand

 

Subject:  Determination request
Geographic location of the bug:  Thailand inthanon national parc
Date: 01/02/2018
Time: 04:07 PM EDT
Hi Bugman,
I’m searching for more than 3 months to identify a bug, also used your site, but still not convinced that I’ve found it.
I’m thinking of Amata Grotei. but can’t find extra scientific information about it.
Here a similar picture I’ve found, but the wings are different (http://www.thaibugs.com/wp-content/gallery/syntominae/IMG_7693.jpg)
Another one can be Amata grotei, colors are different, but the wing matches perfectly. (maybe the color differences are between male or female )
https://www.flickr.com/photos/beautiful_bugs/24751620053/in/photostream/
Or the ceryx amaon 4 can also be the one (http://www.thaibugs.com/?page_id=210) at the bottom of the page.
Or perhaps it’s a Sessiidae Clear-wing Wasp Moth
Hope you can help me out here!
Thank you very much in advance.
How you want your letter signed:  Mr Ronald

Wasp Moth

Dear Mr Ronald,
The best we are able to provide for you at this time is a general identification.  This is a Wasp Moth in the subfamily Arctiinae.  We found a mating pair from China pictured on FlickR, but alas, only the general identification is provided.  Perhaps one of our readers will be able to provide better information.

Letter 36 – Wasp Moth from Costa Rica: Belemnia inaurata

 

Subject:  What’s this wasp moth called
Geographic location of the bug:  The Southern Pacific coast of Costa Rica
Date: 06/30/2018
Time: 10:30 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I’d love to know what species this wasp moth is. I took these photos.
How you want your letter signed:  Len Greene

Wasp Moth

Hi Len,
This Tiger Moth in the subtribe Euchromiina, the group commonly called Wasp Moth, has eluded us in terms of a species identification, but we believe based on this image on Revolvy representing the genus
Cyanopepla, and this image on Bold Systems that the genus Cyanopepla might be correct.  We will contact Arctiid expert Julian Donahue to get his opinion.  Your images are gorgeous.

Wasp Moth

Thank you for your response and compliment!  I’d love it if you’d keep me updated on any further identification of the genus.  I have more photos of unique and beautiful insects that I have photographed on my farm in Costa Rica that I’d be glad share with you if you’d like.
Pura Vida!

Julian Donahue provides an identification.
Hi Daniel,
This is Belemnia inaurata, presumably subspecies inaurata. Although Hampson treated it as an arctiid, it has been transferred to the Ctenuchina (now treated as a subtribe of the tribe Arctiini, subfamily Arctiinae of the family Erebidae–my ctenuchids don’t get any respect any more!)
This diurnal moth is frequently encountered in Costa Rica as it visits plants rich in pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs), such Ageratum (which this plant may be, if it’s blue) and Eupatorium (the latter has been split into multiple genera, such as Conoclinium and Chromolaena, both of which I have in my butterfly & moth garden).
Nice pics. Thanks for the break from witnessing the cascading collapse of everything our nation stands for.
Julian

Ed. Note:  Here is an image of Belemnia inaurata from FlickR.

Letter 37 – Wasp Moth from India

 

Subject:  Please indentify this insect
Geographic location of the bug:  Goa india
Date: 10/31/2018
Time: 12:09 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This bug/bee/moth has colour codes like a resistor. Width about 1.5 inch
How you want your letter signed:  Ap

Wasp Moth

Dear Ap,
This is one of the diurnal Tiger Moths in the subtribe Ctenuchina, a group sometimes called Wasp Moths as many are effective wasp mimics.  Though your image has some serious degradation, the colors and markings are defined enough for us to have found what we believe to be a matching image of 
Euchromia elegantissima on FlickR,  though we would not discount that it might be Euchromia polymena.

Letter 38 – Wasp Moth from Paraguay is in genus Macrocneme

 

Subject:  Request
Geographic location of the bug:  Asunción, Paraguay
Date: 07/01/2019
Time: 07:27 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  We found this bug in class. I suspect that it’s some kind of wasp. Please help me identify it.
How you want your letter signed:  Juan Espinoza

Wasp Moth

Dear Juan,
This is a Wasp Moth, but we have not been able to identify the species.  We will see if Arctiinae expert Julian Donahue can assist with a genus or species identification.

Thank you for your response! I’ll be waiting to hear from you about the moth wasp.

Update:  Julian Donahue responds.
Hi Daniel,
It’s a species of Macrocneme. Quite a few species in the genus, very similar in appearance, but separable by genitalia. In fact, the key to species in the revision of the genus by Dietz in 1994 is based on male genitalia!
The current classification is now: Lepidoptera: Erebidae: Arctiinae: Arctiini: Euchromiina: Macrocneme.
My, how they’ve demoted the ctenuchids!
Anxiously awaiting the onset of the monsoon,
Julian

Ed. Note:  See Fauna of Paraguay.

Letter 39 – Wasp Moth from Costa Rica

 

Subject:  Maybe Cosmosoma but which species?
Geographic location of the bug:  Costa Rica (Paraiso Quetzal Lodge)
Date: 02/13/2020
Time: 07:47 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  We saw this bug in Costa Rica near the Paraiso Quetzal Lodge in February. I think it’s a Cosmosoma but I didn’t find the species. Looks like this one: http://www.zonacharrua.com/butterflies/Andes-Cosmosomanrsubflamma.htm
But I’m not sure it’s possible to have a subflamma in Costa Rica.
How you want your letter signed:  JdA

Wasp Moth: Homoeocera gigantea

Dear JdA,
While you are correct that this is a Wasp Moth in the subfamily Arctiinae, we do not believe you have the correct genus.  We believe based on images posted to Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute that this is
Homoeocera gigantea.

Letter 40 – Wasp Moth from Costa Rica

 

Subject: Zach Meikamp wants to know about this seven year old memory
Geographic location of the bug:  Costa Rica (Central)
Date: 04/04/2021
Time: 04:35 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello. A pic came up in my memories on my phone from 7 years ago. It was a moth I believe and it was strikingly beautiful. None of the local friends could identify it. It’s driving me crazy what it is and I have searched up and down the internet to find it but have yet to succeed. What do you think?
How you want your letter signed:  Thank you.. Zach M

Wasp Moth is Cyanopepla species

Dear Zach M,
This is a positively gorgeous Wasp Moth in the subtribe Ctenuchina, and we have several gorgeous individuals of different species of Wasp Moths on our site from Costa Rica.   Though our initial search did not turn up a conclusive visual match, this is quite close match to the fantasy butterfly wings being sported by Melanie on the Irish Chain.  Luckily, we have a close friend Lepidopterist Julian Donahue who is an expert on Arctiids and we will see if he recognizes your beautiful Wasp Moth.

Update 4/8/2021:  Julian Donahue Responds
It appears to be a species of Cyanopepla, but I need to see the abdomen and hindwings; it could be a form of C. arrogans, C. submacula, or something else.
Julian P. Donahue

34 thoughts on “Are Wasp Moths Dangerous? Truth Revealed”

  1. The moth is a species of Amata (Arctiidae)

    They are often locally common but not much is known about them.They have a very dainty slow flight.

    Best regards, Trevor

    Reply
  2. This was taken in June 24, 2006 in Eagle River, Alaska (not Arkansas). Sorry for the late response, I actually came across this today because I was searching for more info on the moth before sending my pictures of it to someone. I don’t think I’ve been on this site since 2006. There are some more pictures of this moth and another of the same species in my Picasa Web Album at https://picasaweb.google.com/116717314921392784274/Favorites?noredirect

    There is a macro shot of it’s face showing how the inside edge of its front legs are colored to match a yellow jacket’s mouth at https://picasaweb.google.com/116717314921392784274/Favorites?noredirect=1#5117942725348596434 . The moth even moved its front legs in a manner that made it look like the “mouth” was opening and closing when I handled it.

    If you are interested in more photos of the moth, I can upload them to my web album.

    Reply
  3. This was taken in June 24, 2006 in Eagle River, Alaska (not Arkansas). Sorry for the late response, I actually came across this today because I was searching for more info on the moth before sending my pictures of it to someone. I don’t think I’ve been on this site since 2006. There are some more pictures of this moth and another of the same species in my Picasa Web Album at https://picasaweb.google.com/116717314921392784274/Favorites?noredirect

    There is a macro shot of it’s face showing how the inside edge of its front legs are colored to match a yellow jacket’s mouth at https://picasaweb.google.com/116717314921392784274/Favorites?noredirect=1#5117942725348596434 . The moth even moved its front legs in a manner that made it look like the “mouth” was opening and closing when I handled it.

    If you are interested in more photos of the moth, I can upload them to my web album.

    Reply
  4. I was stung buy a black bee or swasp at my elbow and it swollen up badly . My whole arm felt like it was on fire. The swasp was one long , black, and had a yellow dot on its back .I have never seen one and I have been stung buy a lot of different kinds of bees , but never had this much pain .I don’t know what kind it was .Its been a week and my arm still
    Hurts

    Reply
  5. I was stung buy a black bee or swasp at my elbow and it swollen up badly . My whole arm felt like it was on fire. The swasp was one long , black, and had a yellow dot on its back .I have never seen one and I have been stung buy a lot of different kinds of bees , but never had this much pain .I don’t know what kind it was .Its been a week and my arm still
    Hurts

    Reply
  6. There are at least three specimens of Histioea meldolae in the INBio (now Costa Rica National Museum) collecion. I caught a male at our finca near La Cangreja National Park, at night, hour unknown. I also caught another species of Histioea in Venezuela not long after dark, and still another species in Colombia, also not long after dark. I’m pretty certain that I saw one of this species at a clearing in our tropical forest, sitting on a Heliconia leaf. It startled me it was so big and colorful. When I got closer wondering how I could catch it with my hands, it zoomed off like a jet into the sky. There is nothing similar in size and color to this in the INBio collection.

    Reply
  7. I found this post after doing an image search for Costa Rican clearwing moth (I’m in the UK & that’s what it reminded me of) after a friend in Costa Rica took a picture of a beautiful insect on his avocado seedling & posted it on FB. Dunno about white boots as its legs aren’t visible but everything else matches….this post is just to say thank you, really great site.

    Reply
    • UPDATE
      I blew up the picture on my computer & just visible, poking out from under a wing is a white boot! There’s no greater satisfaction than finding the answer to something you didn’t know before & really wanted to know. So, thanks again to all involved.

      Reply
    • UPDATE
      I blew up the picture on my computer & just visible, poking out from under a wing is a white boot! There’s no greater satisfaction than finding the answer to something you didn’t know before & really wanted to know. So, thanks again to all involved.

      Reply
  8. There are much more information in this article (in French), including indications about the hours of activity (it seems both diurnal and nocturnal) and their presence in Costa Rica. The article is about a new subspecies, slightly different in wing markings and your individual seems to belongs to this new subspecies too.
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/318777004_Description_et_ethologie_d'une_nouvelle_sous-espece_d'Histioea_meldolae_du_Panama_Lepidoptera_Erebidae_Arctiinae_Ctenuchini

    Reply

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