Polka-Dot Wasp Moth (Oleander Moth) on a Mexican Sunflower


Dunnellon, United States

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1805 views as of Sept. 23, 2014

Canon PowerShot SX260 HS; 1/160s, f/6.8, ISO 160, focal length 90mm; AUTO setting

I found this colorful creature in Cedar Key, Florida, USA. It was on a large Mexican sunflower plant growing right at the edge of the road. I shot this through the open car window.

Top Ten Winner in the “AVATAR September” challenge in Insects, Bugs & Creepy Crawlies, Sept. 22, 2014
FEATURED in ♥Artists Universe♥, April 10, 2013
FEATURED in +Florida the Sunshine State
, Nov. 16, 2012

From Wikipedia:
The Polka-Dot Wasp Moth (Syntomeida epilais) is a species of moth thought to be native to the Caribbean. The species is also called the Oleander Moth after the Oleander plant, from which its young feed. Like most wasp moths, these moths are day fliers. They are dark metallic blue with a couple of white polka-dots dotting the wings and upper abdomen. The tip of the moth’s abdomen is bright red; it looks like a very dangerous wasp, but in fact is a harmless moth.The caterpillars are orange or dark orange with long black hairs. The larvae stage of the Polka-Dot wasp moth, commonly called the Oleander caterpillar, is widely known for its gluttonous appetite. The caterpillar feeds in almost any location (excepting California) where its food, the Oleander plant, can be found. They are gregarious and can cause damage from minor to severe.
This is my photo of an Oleander Caterpillar:

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