Welcome to my zone 9a habitat garden near Houston, Texas.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Monday Mystery: What is it? (UPDATE)

When I first saw it flitting across my yard, I thought it was a strange butterfly. Then it landed on a pot of pansies and I got a closer look and realized that it was no butterfly.

So it was clear what it wasn't, but not so clear to me just what it was. It still isn't clear. Do you have any ideas? What is it?

UPDATE:  See comment below. A reader has solved my mystery! The insect is Melanchroia chephise, the White-tipped Black or Snowbush Spanworm  Here is a link to many more images. It is a moth which is endemic from Florida to Texas, south to Paraguay.


  1. Nope, I don't know what it is and I can tell you I don't think I have seen it before! Not sure if I like the sight of it, even if it probably is harmless...

    1. It appeared to be feeding from the pansy blossom and I think it probably is harmless, but I need to do more research to try to come up with an ID for it.

  2. Google is amazing. I just did a search for black wings with white tips.;-) Take a look-


    Red/brown moth with black wings and white tips - Melanchroia chephise

    All the other Boarmiini moths seem quite camouflaged. The caterpillars are very colorful too-


    It says they eat Euphorbs, or a hedge called a Snowbush, so perhaps they are poisonous.

    Thanks for the interesting photos!


    1. Fantastic, Nancy! I believe you have nailed it. I had searched Google also, but not as successfully as you. Thanks for your help.