Red & Blue insect, unidentified?
Wed, Dec 24, 2008 at 7:14 PM
The attached pic was taken just outside a cypress dome at Myakka River State Park. I’m a park ranger in Florida at a different park and want to know what this guy is for my files. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
This is a Scarlet Bodied Wasp Moth, Cosmosoma myrodora. As its name indicates, it is a moth that mimics a wasp for protection. BugGuide provides this interesting bit of information: “These moths display warning coloration, yet the caterpillars host on non-toxic Climbing Hempweed, Mikania scandens, (family Asteraceae), a weedy vine at field margins and roadsides that can completely obscure bushes and small trees. The adult male moth extracts toxins known as “pyrrolizidine alkaloids” from Dogfennel Eupatorium (Eupatorium capillifolium) and showers these toxins over the female prior to mating. This is the only insect known to transfer a chemical defense in this way. “