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Rudbeckia hirta, BLACKEYED SUSAN

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The featured photo is a composite of images showing 4 different life stages of the Spiderling Plume Moth. The upper left image shows both the eggs and a pupa. On the right is the caterpillar representing the larval stage. And in the lower left is the adult moth hanging from a host plant, the red spiderling, or wineflower.

Megalorhipida leucodactylus, SPIDERLING PLUME MOTH

These tiny plume moths can be found throughout Florida often near members of the Nyctaginaceae - Four o'clock - family. The range also includes the Caribbean, southern California and Arizona.
With the distinctive "T" or airplane wing shape of plume moths at rest, this moth looked like a tiny tuft of down in flight. The wingspan is 12-18.5mm (~1/2-3/4 in.). Adult moths often have the abdomen in a recurved position, appearing much like a scorpion. The legs have perpendicular thorns, most apparent on the long hind legs held along each side of the abdomen when at rest.
The host plants for Megalorhipida leucodactylus are the spiderlings (genus Boerhavia. The larvae are 1cm (4/10 in.) long and feed on the fruit of the plant. All stages of the moths in these images are on red spiderling plants.

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Wild Florida Photo is a photographic collection of flora, fauna and other subjects found in Florida by Paul Rebmann. All photographs on this site are copyrighted and are available for other use by prior arrangement. Although great care is taken to correctly identify the various species, errors may occur.
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