Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Polka Dot Wasp Moth

What a most magnificent moth is the Polka Dot Wasp Moth. Today was the very first time I actually photographed one of these wasp moths in my front yard garden. I am very sure I had caught glimpses of this wasp moth in the past month or so, but didn't realize how spectacularly colorful it is.

Polka Dot Wasp Moth - Syntomeida epilais
Polka Dot Wasp Moth - Syntomeida epilais
Photographed November 29, 2016, Leesburg, FL
It was just a bit past Noon on a most delightful weather day in Leesburg, Florida. The temperature was near 80 degrees although it might have felt a degree or two cooler with the winds of about 8 mph. There were lots of wispy clouds overhead that seemed to be moving towards me ... so the wind was out of the South.

Polka Dot Wasp Moth - Syntomeida epilais
Polka Dot Wasp Moth - Syntomeida epilais
Photographed November 29, 2016, Leesburg, FL
I was just finishing up the washing of my white lattice work along the side of the carport. I noticed this wasp moth flying to and fro and thought I'd try to snap a photo or two. It was flying almost continuously, like it was aware a bird might be watching! I snapped a few photos as it lit on my Confederate Star Jasmine plant.

Polka Dot Wasp Moth - Syntomeida epilais
Polka Dot Wasp Moth - Syntomeida epilais
Photographed November 29, 2016, Leesburg, FL
The Polka Dot Wasp Moth is referred to as the Oleander Caterpillar in larva form. It was many years ago that I grew several Oleander plants in my small townhouse backyard in Jacksonville, Florida. I remember finding hundreds of these caterpillar lined up on the underside of the Oleander leaves. It was actually kind of creepy to see so many caterpillar. Alas, I did not wait for the caterpillar to become a wasp moth -- heck, I had no idea that the Oleander Caterpillar would turn into such a beautiful moth.

Action Shot of the Polka Dot Wasp Moth!

Action Shot of the Polka Dot Wasp Moth - Syntomeida epilais
Action Shot of the Polka Dot Wasp Moth - Syntomeida epilais
Photographed November 29, 2016, Leesburg, FL
The white polka dots on the wings of the wasp moth helped to create as most interesting action shot in the above photo. The wasp moth landed on my yellow car a couple of times and then flew back to the Confederate Star Jasmine plant.

The North American subspecies of the Polka Dot Wasp Moth is S. epilais jucundissima, which is locally common in all areas of Florida.The University of Florida has a neat reference guide for the Oleander Caterpillar with some excellent photos of the various stages of life.