Wild Florida Photo
Nature Photography by Paul Rebmann
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POLKA-DOT WASP MOTH
Synonym: Echites umbellata
This colorful moth, like other members of the wasp moth sub-family (Ctenuchinae) is active during the day and is common in most of Florida and southern Georgia. Polka-dot moths are native to the Caribbean region (including south Florida) and now range from the coastal areas of the southeastern states through Mexico, Central America and the northern regions of South America.
The larvae of Syntomeida epilais is known as the oleander caterpillar. The original host plant is believed to have been the now rare devil's potato or rubbervine, but the caterpillars switched hosts after the Spanish introduced the Mediterranean ornamental oleander to the new world in the 17th century.
Polka-dot moths have an iridescent blue/green body and wings, somewhat resembling a wasp in shape. Small white dots are found on the body, wings, legs and antenna. The tip of the abdomen is red/orange. Males and females are similar, with a wingspan from 45-51mm (1-3/4 to 2 in.). The orange caterpillars range in length from 3-40mm (1/8 to 1-5/8 in.) and have clumps of black non-stinging hairs growing from black tubercles along the body.
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IFAS Featured Creatures
Date record last modified:
Jul 21, 2013