Polka Dot Wasp Moths are common to tropical climates and make their North American home in the Southeastern United States, appearing year-round in warmer places like Florida.
Though they take on the appearance - and in some ways, the behavior - of a wasp, the Polka Dot Wasp Moth is actually a moth. It utilizes the act of mimicry to put off potential predators who are familiar with the real wasp's sting and would rather avoid a potential meal than feel that pain again. The Polka Dot Wasp Moth is a day-flier.
The Oleander Caterpillar is the Polka Dot Wasp Moth in the larvae stage. These larvae are disliked for their extensive defoliation of the poisonous oleander plant common to Florida. Oleander Caterpillars are a bright orange with black hairs and congregate in quantity on oleander leaves. Removing them from your garden is bittersweet. You will spare the oleander, but miss out on a funny little visitor later.
©2005-2016 www.InsectIdentification.org. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction Permitted. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from www.InsectIdentification.org is strictly prohibited. Material presented throughout this website is for entertainment value and should not to be construed as usable for scientific research or medical advice (insect bites, etc...). Please consult licensed, degreed professionals for such information. Email corrections / Comments to InsectIdentification at Gmail dot com.