Milkweed Tiger Moth

Lerina incarnata

Pen & Ink © by Michael Plagens

This pen & ink was drawn from a specimen found at Molino Canyon, Sta. Catalina Mts., AZ, on 18 April 1994. The moth was reared from a caterpillar found on the same plant. At lower left is an enlarged view of one flower; ten to twenty small flowers are borne in an umbel arrangement at the top of the plant. A pair of dried fruit hulls remain attached to the stem at bottom right. The comose (bearing long fluffy hairs) seeds have long since been carried away on the wind.

Arctiidae -- Tiger Moth Family

One of the most striking moths of Southern Arizona, Lerina incarnata, uses Needle-Leaf Milkweed as the larval host plant. It is a tiger moth, with bold red shoulder patches contrasting with iridescent blue-black wings. The caterpillar is colored bright orange with black spots, warning coloration suggesting that these insects sequester poisons from the milkweed as defense against insectivores such as birds.

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 30 May 2003.