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Black-banded Wasp Moth

Syntomeida melanthus (Cramer, 1780)

Tiger Moth Family Arctiidae


Black-banded Wasp Moth - Syntomeida melanthus
(nectaring on Eupatorium odoratum - Asteraceae)

 nr. Falcon Heights, Starr County, Texas
26 November 2006 (J & S Hengeveld, P & J Kelly)


White-tipped Black - Melanchroia chephise (Stoll, 1782)

(Nectaring on Bidens pilosa - Asteraceae)

Parque Ecológico Chipinque
Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico
9 September 2006 (M Quinn)

Texas County Records for Syntomeida melanthus

Black-banded Wasp Moth - Syntomeida melanthus


Range: Southwestern U.S.,  south to Central America

TEXAS: lower Rio Grande Valley, southern Edwards Plateau, Big Bend
ARIZONA: Santa Cruz County.

Recent Records:

TX: Starr Co., nr. Falcon Heights, 26 November 2006. J Hengeveld, S Hengeveld
TX: Hidalgo Co., Bentsen-RGV St Pk, 10 November 2006, Josh Rose
TX: Starr Co., 28 October 2006, Gil Quintanilla
MX: N.L., Monterrey, Chipinque, 9 September 2006, Mike Quinn
TX: Uvalde Co., Concan. 7-15 September 2001, Greg Muise
TX: Brewster Co., Big Bend NP,  Chisos Basin, 21 August 1995, Charles W. Bordelon, Jr.

Earlier (First U.S.?) records reported by Blanchard (1973):

"Big Bend Nat. Park, 21 specimens, all taken in the desert around the Chisos Mountains, 
 from early April to late June, and from late August to early October."

Note: Adults are both diurnal and nocturnal. (Knudson & Bordelon 2004)

Similar Species: Four species of Syntomeida reach the U.S.

Syntomeida ipomoeae (Harris, 1839)
Syntomeida melanthus (Cramer, 1780)
Syntomeida epilais (Walker, 1854)
Syntomeida hampsonii Barnes, 1904

Caterpillar Food Plants: Janzen & Hallwachs (2005) report 54 host records, over half were:

Convolvulaceae - Morning Glory Family
        Merremia dissecta
        Ipomoea batatoides


Adult: Syntomeida melanthus - Ed Knudson
Larva: Syntomeida melanthus - Janzen & Hallwachs

Biography: Pieter Cramer - (1721-1776) - Wikipedia


Blanchard A. 1973. Record and illustration of some interesting moths flying in Texas (Sphingidae, Ctenuchidae, Noctuidae, Notodontidae, Geometridae, Pyralidae, Cossidae). Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society, 27(2): 103-9.

Conner, W.E , R. Boada, F.C. Schroeder., A. Gonzŕlez, J. Meinwald, & T. Eisner. 2001. Chemical defense: bestowal of a nuptial alkaloidal garment by a male moth upon its mate. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 97(26): 14406-14411.

Druce, H. 1884. Biologia Centrali-Americana. Insecta. Lepidoptera-Heterocera. Volume I . R.H. Porter, London. Pl. 70, fig 25.

Janzen, D.H. & W. Hallwachs. 2005. Dynamic database for an inventory of the macrocaterpillar fauna, and its food plants and parasitoids, of Area de Conservacion Guanacaste (ACG), northwestern Costa Rica <http://janzen.sas.upenn.edu>.

Knudson, E. & C. Bordelon. 2004. Illustrated Checklist of the Lepidoptera of the Lower Rio Grande Valley, TX. Vol. 2B : Macro-Moths. Texas Lepidoptera Survey, Houston. xiv + 59 pp. 20 plates.

Knudson, E. & C. Bordelon. 2003. Illustrated Checklist of Big Bend National Park. Publication 3. Texas Lepidoptera Survey, Houston. (treats 1300 species, 12 color plates). 

Sanderford, M.V. 1992. Acoustic communication of the polka-dot wasp moth, Syntomeida epilais Walker (Lepidoptera, Arctiidae, Ctenuchinae). Ph.D. dissertation, Wake-Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC.

Walker, F. 1854. Lepidoptera Heterocera. in: List of the Specimens of Lepidopterous Insects in the Collection of the British Museum. 1: 1-278

Yack, J, T.A. Timbers, W.E. Conner, A. Aniello, & F. Schroeder 2004. Defensive Flocculent Emissions in a Tiger Moth Homoeocera stictosoma (Arctiidae, Arctiinae). Journal of the Lepidopterists’ Society 58(3): 173-177.

11 Mar 2008  © Mike Quinn / mike.quinn@tpwd.state.tx.us / Texas Entomology / Texas Lep Information