When it wants to, the Mexican Tiger Moth surprises observers with an unexpected pop of bright pink.
The Mexican Tiger Moth has a myriad of geometric black shapes on its creamy white wings. The upper part of the forewings have black blocks, the center area has thinner dashes, and the tips of the wings sport triangular shapes. The furry white thorax has three black lines on it: one runs down the center and two are on either side of it. The thickness of these lines varies with individuals. Hair near the face and on the upper legs has an orange-pink tint. The abdomen is bright pink with black dots down the 'spine', and these dots may even connect to form a line. Smaller hindwings are visible only when wings are spread open. Males have white hindwings while females have bright pink hindwings with black blotches near the bottom edges.
Despite their name, Mexican Tiger Moths are native to states in both Mexico and the western part of the U.S.. Mexican Tiger Moth adults are active from spring through most of autumn. Caterpillars are covered in hairs and likely eat the leaves of herbaceous plants. Many generations can be produced each year.
Scientific Name: Apantesis proxima
Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 14mm to 20mm (0.55in to 0.78in)
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.
Butterfly and Moth Anatomy
Antennae: Butterflies and Moths have a pair of antennae on the head used as sensors.
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and proboscis.
Thorax: Home to the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
Abdomen: Contains vital internal organs such as the heart(s) and reproduction facilities.
Forewing: The upper, forward wing pair used for flying.
Hindwing: The lower, rearward wing pair used for flying.
NOTE: Butterflies and Moths are part of the Lepidopteran order as they share many similarities.