red moth from mars

Following the success of my earlier identify an insect project, a Mr Sword from NASA has written to me, asking if I could help establish the identity of a rather strange, moth-like creature photographed by his daughter in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Of course, I’m only too pleased to assist America’s space programme and display the picture. Apologies for the blurry nature of the image.

Whatever this winged critter is, it sure is red. This suggests to me that its natural environment is either a) Mars (it’s possible – this image was sent from NASA, remember), or in pots of rasberry jam. But I could be wrong – I’m not an expert. Can anybody shed more light on the situation by putting a name to this flying scarlet behomoth?


  1. In the immortal words of Pooh Bear: Curiouser and curiouser

    I’ve just checked the Audon Society Field Guide to North American Insects and Spiders (yes, I realizes he works for NASA and that was probably the first thing he checked too) and the closest thing that I found was a damselfly (didn’t have the right red body structure}.

    It is my professional opinion as someone who has a weird interest in bugs ;) that this certainly has me good and stumped. It’s probably not indigenous to North America at all – or his daughter may have found a new class of moth (it does happen).

  2. Wow, Fraser, you’re the new Straight Dope!

  3. Check out the Scarlet-Bodied Wasp Moth in the previously referenced online guide to Lousiana moths….could it be?

  4. Hey I think Randy’s on to something…

  5. Kill it! Kill it HARD!!!

  6. Noo, don’t. It’s pretty. It’s Ferrari Bugâ„¢!

  7. We stumbled onto this moth also. Oct 19,2004 in a Kmart parking lot, in Pensacola. It is native to florida but I think that Hurricane Ivan did some relocation… It is an awesome bug!! Suggest you Google (Scarlet Bodied Wasp Moth) and check out the links, With your daughter please… other cool bugs… Golden Silk Orb Weaver!!!

  8. There was me thinking it was a tie, a red sock and a bit of string!


  9. we live in NZ,and have discovered a red moth here too. Might get a picture on line soon.

  10. I checked my self and I thought it was a (super duper red moth from mars) but I was wrong it’s the (super duper red moth from mars in onother galaxy)

  11. I’m glad to know what this insect was on my flowers. Thanks. It really is beautiful. Lake Charles, LA