[moth-rah] Silver-spotted Ghost Moth

James Kruse fnjjk1 at uaf.edu
Mon Jun 23 15:19:41 EDT 2003

on 6/23/03 6:22 AM, John at jhimmel at comcast.net wrote:

> 'mornin - 
> I came across Sthenopis argenteomaculatus (Silver-spotted Ghost Moth) in my
> yard last night and while photographing it noticed it secreting a deep red
> fluid at the base of the wings. Not a lot, just a tiny bit.  You can see the
> red area where the wing joins the thorax at www.connecticutmoths.com.  This
> seemed to happen when I disturbed it and I wonder if anyone knows of these
> insects doing this as a taste avoidance defense.  I can find no mention of
> this behavior anywhere, but I'm sure if it occurs, someone out there knows
> about it.
This is generally known as 'reflex bleeding'. Many insects do it, especially
Arctiidae, Coccinellidae, and several others. When disturbed, these insects
have the ability to push hemolymph out through certain joints. The idea is a
taste avoidance defense. It is not an injury.

Hope this helps.


James J. Kruse, Ph.D.
Adjunct Faculty and Curator of Entomology
University of Alaska Museum
907 Yukon Drive
Fairbanks, AK, USA 99775-6960
tel 907.474.5579
fax 907.474.1987


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