Veined Ctenucha Moth
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Every autumn our community is visited by Veined Ctenucha Moths. These little — about one inch long — moths don’t look like moths. Superficially, they resemble flies or wasps. However, their long feathery antennae are a giveaway that they are moths. They are a southwestern and latin american species, showing up in locations in the United States along the Mexican border and as far south of the border as Guatemala. They are remarkably beautiful with their brilliant scarlet heads, their cobalt blue bodies, and their wings veined with bold golden stripes.
They are not only unusual looking as moths go but they are unusual in their habits. Most moths are nocturnal but the Veined Ctenucha Moth carries on in broad daylight. Many moths perch with their wings spread but the Veined Ctenucha Moth carries its wings folded against its body when it is not in flight.
These gorgeous moths are completely harmless, subsisting on plant nectar and bothering no one. They show up pretty much everywhere that there are flowering plants. I found these individuals at Tohono Chul Park.
Images made with a Canon 5DS-R, 180mm f3.5 L Macro Lens+1.4x telextender, assisted by Canon 600EX-RT Speedlite, stabilized by monopod, M setting, ISO 160, f 11 @ 1/160.