Broad-lined Erastra

While on assignment in the Withlacoochee State Forest I noticed this beautiful moth!

Broad-lined Erastra | March 21 | Alice Mary Herden
Broad-lined Erastra | March 21 | Alice Mary Herden

I couldn’t find much information about this particular moth on the internet, but according to Bug Guide, this is a male.

Broad-lined Erastra | March 21 | Alice Mary Herden
Broad-lined Erastra | March 21 | Alice Mary Herden

I have heard many people say to tell the difference between a moth and a butterfly is the moth always has its wings flatten… well that is not correct. The best way to tell is by their antennas. Butterflies have long straight antennas and most moths have these cool feathered antennas.

I think it might be time to spend some daylight hours in the Withlacoochee State Forest!

 

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Spanish Moth Caterpillar

So far there are two Spanish Moth Caterpillars recorded in Hernando County, both at Chassahowitzka WMA, myself and Pete Kleinhenz, according to Inaturalist.

Caterpillars feed on Spider Lillies and other Amaryllidaceae so I am assuming can be found more wetland habitats.

Spanish Moth Caterpillar | March 12 | Alice Mary Herden
Spanish Moth Caterpillar | March 12 | Alice Mary Herden

Larvae have six instars, (transformations) emerges out of the pupa stage around eight days and feeding for 17 days and last pupal stage around 19 days. Adults live around 8-10 days that include up to three days of flight and mating.

They don’t live very long, only about two months. Hopefully, I can time it just right to get photos of the moth, because it’s a beauty!

 

Spanish Moth Caterpillar | March 12 | Alice Mary Herden
Spanish Moth Caterpillar | March 12 | Alice Mary Herden

It was pretty cool how I spotted these because they are very easy to overlook.

 

Every time I would try to photograph a damselfly, it would fly away. I would have back up and follow where it landed,  it happened three times until that last stop I noticed the caterpillars. Kind of neat how nature leads you to the best spots!


Links

http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/orn/flowers/spanish_moth.htm

http://florida.plantatlas.usf.edu/Genus.aspx?id=368&display=photos

 

 

Camouflaged Looper

When you learn more about plant species you are able to tell when something is different. While driving (slowly) I noticed something “odd” about this Spanish needle flower and sure enough there was something “odd”.

The Wavy-lined Looper, Camouflaged Looper, Wavy-lined Emerald (Synchlora aerata)

 

Wavy-lined Looper, Camouflaged Looper, Wavy-lined Emerald (Synchlora aerata) 2
Camouflaged Looper | February 28 | Alice Mary Herden

A very unique caterpillar indeed. These caterpillars collect pieces of flowers and/or plant material and use that to cover their backs (hence the name), which would be very cool to video. This is caterpillar for the Wavy-Lined Emerald Moth.

 


Links

https://www.insectidentification.org/insect-description.asp?identification=Wavy-Lined-Emerald-Moth