(Covington, Louisiana, USA) This bug was laying in my breezeway at my apt. It was dead when I found it but it was so pretty I picked it up and kept it to try and identify it. I have never seen one before. It has a Red body with the bottom end of the body a beautiful bright irradescent blue color. In the picture, the whole back end of the bug that looks dark was the blue color, its just hard to make all the blue show up. And the tip of the head the same shiny blue. The Legs were the same bright red as the body and the wings were Black and Clear striped. The see through part was striking against the black and the whole effect of the bug was quite like art.
You found a Scarlet-Bodied Wasp Moth. You are right it is very colorful like a piece of artwork. Nature at its best!
This insect is only found in the very southern states and it feeds on a roadside weed, so enjoy the artwork for us northern folks!
Bugguide reports – These moths display warning coloration, yet the caterpillars host on non-toxic Climbing Hempweed, Mikania scandens, (family Asteraceae), a weedy vine at field margins and roadsides that can completely obscure bushes and small trees. The adult male moth extracts toxins known as “pyrrolizidine alkaloids” from Dogfennel Eupatorium (Eupatorium capillifolium) and showers these toxins over the female prior to mating. This is the only insect known to transfer a chemical defense in this way.
Interesting find…thanks for sharing with us!