CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Salt Marsh Moth Caterpillar (Estigmene acrea)

Native hosts include Dogfennel, Pillpod Sandmat and other potentially aggressive species such as the Bidens alba shown in the photo.

Serves as a host for other species such as tachinid flies and Hymenopterans (Bees, Wasps and Sawflies) which parasitized the eggs/larvae.

Larvae feed on a variety of plants including “cash crops”, so not a favorite with farmers.

Coloring can be highly variable:


Learn more:

Shown on Florida Native Plant: Bidens alba


CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY:  Black-dotted Spragueia Moth (Spragueia onagrus)

Tiny little diurnal moth.

Larval hosts as listed in the HOSTS database are: Baccharis halimifolia, Castanea pumila, Zea mays (

In my yard that would be the Baccharis Halimifolia aka Groundselbush or Saltbush.


shown on a non-native Buttonweed (Spermacoce verticillata)  out by the culvert

Superfamily Noctuoidea – Owlet Moths and kin
Family Noctuidae – Owlet Moths
Subfamily Acontiinae – Bird Dropping Moths
Tribe Acontiini

My take on Moths:

Take II:



CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Bagworm Moth Caterpillar/Pupa likely Abbot’s Bagworm Moth (Oiketicus abbotii)

bagworms are merely moth caterpillars dress in twigs or other plant materials.  II think this one is in the pupal stage.


Shown on Florida Native Plant: Bidens alba

My take:

Take 2:


CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY:  Tersa Sphinx Moth (Xylophanes tersa)

larval hosts:  Madder Family, Rubiaceae, including Smooth buttonplant (Spermacoce glabra), Borreria, Manettia; and Bignoniaceae: Catalpa. Also noted, in North Carolina, from Virginia Buttonweed (Diodia virginiana) also in the Rubiaceae.  Non-native starclusters (Pentas spp.)

Caterpillar from 2008:

The caterpillars have large eyespots which make them look adorably inquisitive

Transitioning into pupae



CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Assembly Moth (Samea ecclesialis)

a diurnal moth. Tends to land on the underside of leaves..

Superfamily Pyraloidea – Pyralid and Crambid Snout Moths
Family Crambidae – Crambid Snout Moths
Subfamily Spilomelinae


a.k.a. stained glass moth

Larval host: “larvae have been raised on Richardia brasiliensis” commonly known as Tropical Mexican clover which is not native in the State of Florida.


Shown on Florida Native Plant:   BLACKBERRY (Rubus spp.)



This beauty was resting on the kitchen door at night.

Adults do not feed

Larval host: multiple plants, “A variety of plants including hackberry (Celtis), willow (Salix), mesquite (Prosopis), redbud (Cercis), currant (Ribes), blackberry (Rubus), and pear (Pyrus)”


Eyespots are HUGE on the underwings.


Caterpillars are of the “stinging” type:

Io Moth (Automeris io)


CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Ornate Bella Moth (Utetheisa ornatrix)

a diurnal moth.


Larval host: (Crotalaria spp.) which in my yard is the Florida native RABBITBELLS (C. rotundifolia)


Shown on Florida Native Plant: TICKSEED (Coreopsis sp.)

My take: Whats in a day?

Take 2: Half Hidden Beauty in the Garden

Take 3 is about the caterpillar: