This morning an insect whose like neither of us had ever seen before landed on Patty’s bare arm and freaked her out. She swatted it and it fell, then crawled into the leaf litter and disappeared.
As near as we can make it, it was some kind of “wasp moth,” normally only found far south of here. Patty said it felt “heavy-footed” when it landed on her. She was also afraid it might have bitten or stung her, although no moth has the equipment to bite or sting. Maybe she scratched herself, swatting it away.
Wasp moths imitate wasps, which discourages predators. Their caterpillars eat oleander leaves, which makes their flesh poisonous.
I’m not 100% sure we’ve identified this bug correctly, and if it was indeed a wasp moth, what business could it have in New Jersey? They normally live far south of here. We really should have captured it, but Patty was sorry she’d injured it and we didn’t think of collecting it until it was gone.
Just what we need–new bugs. Supposedly these guys are harmless. I’ll keep my eye out for its colleagues.