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The photos in the slideshow below are all from my "Favorites" gallery and are available for purchase. Proceeds from the sale of these photos will go to support construction of the new Backyard Discovery Zone at Sandy Creek Nature Center in Athens, Georgia.

Thank you!

Scarlet Bodied Wasp Moth

Scarlet Bodied Wasp Moth

Moths--Wasp Moth. Scarlet Bodied Wasp Moth on Bidens. Natural Area Teaching Lab, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida. 2014.

I had never seen this moth before today and when I looked it up online I was interested to discover that it uses Climbing Hempvine (Mikania scandens) as its larval host plant. According to BugGuide, the moth exhibits warning coloration, yet the caterpillar feeds on a non-toxic plant. But the adult male moth "extracts toxins known as 'pyrrolizidine alkaloids' from Dogfennel Eupatorium (Eupatorium capillifolium) and showers these toxins over the female prior to mating. This is the only insect known to transfer a chemical defense in this way."

Here is a link to an article from the University of Florida IFAS about the interesting habits of this beautiful moth. http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/BFLY/MOTH2/scarlet_bodied_wasp_moth.html

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