11 December, 2013

Wasp Mimic Moth - Cosmosoma sp.

Yesterday morning I rescued an insect that was floating in a tub of water on the deck.  I couldn't tell what it was, so I took a closer look at it after it crawled onto the garden hose.
Easy to see in this close up that it is a lepidopteran with its proboscis curled up and more specifically a moth with its feathery antennae.
But while I was taking the photos, I couldn't tell what it was.  I figured either a wasp or wasp-mimic moth.  I was hoping for the later since I am severely allergic to wasps!
Look at those gorgeous colors - black setting off the deep orangey red and sparkly turquoise!
After checking the images to be certain it was a moth, I went back out to try to get some shots of it on a more natural substrate.  I moved it to a big section of bamboo.
The orangey-red along the wing margins is much more dramatic against the brown and tan background of the weathered bamboo. Also easy to tell that much of the wings is transparent.
The bamboo was handy to hold in one hand and shoot with the other, letting me change the angle on the sunlight on the moth.
Another nice pose.
I was able to key it out to the genus Cosmosoma (what a cool name!), which has over 100 species, most which occur in new world tropics.  At least 9 species occur in Belize, as I found out on one of J.C. Barnes' websites, "Moths of Belize".  None of those 9 match this one exactly, so this may be another species, or it may be sexual variation, which is common in this genus.  

The long bath didn't seem to do lasting harm to this individual.  It dried out while on the bamboo and later in the day it sought the shade of the louvres on our back window.  By evening it was gone from sight.
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  1. Replies
    1. Weird and eye-catching, Roy. Thanks for visiting!

  2. A real stunner Wilma.
    I love those flashes of blue.


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