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

 

 

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Nessus Sphinx

This is just one of the reasons to drive slow through Goethe State Forest. The Nessus Sphinx Moth

Nessus Sphinx Moth | February 28 | Alice Mary Herden
Nessus Sphinx Moth | February 28 | Alice Mary Herden

Really surprised this moth stayed still for a while for me snap some photos.

Average size is around 1-2 inches, seen during the day gathering nectar, its host plant is the Virginia Creeper.

Don’t forget National Moth Week is July 20-28: http://nationalmothweek.org/


Links
https://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/species/Amphion-floridensis

Ornate Bella Moth

After the Butterfly Count at Chinsegut Conservation Center, a friend Linda Morehouse, who is also an FWC Volunteer as well, and I decided to take a short hike over at the Big Pine Tract. Big Pine Tract

Chinsegut Wildlife and Environmental Area has three hiking areas; Nature Center Trail, Pines to Prairie Trail (Corner of 41 and Snow Memorial HWY), Big Pine Tract as well as managing Perry Oldenburg and Janet Butterfield. Janet Butterfield is closed to the public, however they do have closed hiking days available, see http://myfwc.com/chinsegut for scheduled next hike)

The Ornate Bella Moth..

Bella Moth
Ornate Bella Moth with wings opened | August 25

What a beautiful moth! The colors orange and pink with black spots just features an extraordinary design against its white body!

Bella Moth
Ornate Bella Moth side profile | August 25

The life cycle of the ornate Bella Moth is short.. only three weeks. The host plant for the Bella Moth is the Lanceleaf Rattlebox, which is toxic to human and livestock (Important information: http://nwdistrict.ifas.ufl.edu/phag/2012/10/05/weed-alert-lanceleaf-rattlebox/)

Photographing these moths with their wings open is difficult, patience and putting your drive mode on continuous is the best way to go.


Links

http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/beneficial/leps/bella_moth.htm

https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/science/bella-moth/

http://blogs.ifas.ufl.edu/entnemdept/2018/04/05/bug-day-bella-moth/