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by Valerie

November, 2006

Texas Wasp Moth

Texas wasp moth

While most moths are nocturnal, there are a few who have managed to adapt to daytime flight. Because moths are tasty little morsels for birds and larger insects such as praying mantises, they need some strategy of fooling these predators into thinking twice before attacking. The Texas wasp moth (Horama panthalon texana) presents a convincing masquerade of a paper wasp, in both its general form and size, and even its movements. Although the colors are way over the top compared to real wasps, the overall effect works well. Just like wasps, the wasp moth tends to crawl over the flowers as it sips nectar, only flying short distances to get to the next bunch of blossoms. A member of the family Arctiidae, which includes the tiger, lichen, and wasp moths, this species is found only in the southern parts of the US, but ranges throughout Mexico.

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