A while back I wrote about diurnal moths, specifically the Bella Moth (Utetheisa ornatrix). To refresh our memories, diurnal moths fly during the day rather than at night like the majority of moths.
At the time I remarked how I could never get a spread-wing picture of this beauty of a moth. While the forewings are quite beautiful in and of themselves, to see the rich pink color that hides underneath really is a treat, but this moth rarely lands with the wings spread.
At LAST, I got my shot, but in a way it is a little sad because apparently this moth had some sort of injury. It was unable to fold one of the wings under when it landed. Mind you, this imperfection didn’t seem to slow Bella down at all. I still had to chase in order to get the shot.
The underside photo is a little on the blurry side. I don’t think Bella really liked the paparazzi chasing her (him?). Rabbitbells (Crotalaria rotundifolia) is the larval host for this beauty. A member of the pea family, it occurs naturally at my place. HOSTS – a Database of the World’s Lepidopteran Hostplants also lists Lespedeza spp. and Lupinus spp. as potential hosts in the USA.
There are other beautiful moths in the garden; the silkworm Cecropia Moth and Polyphemus Moth (Antheraea polyphemus) come to mind but they are very much larger. I still find the Bella to be the most beautiful of them all and she can give most butterflies a run for their money. You can’t miss that fluttering pink low to the ground, although unless injured, you may never really see it up close. Still, it is mesmerizing to see it in person, even if it is only half.
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