Newly Discovered Species of Moth Mimics a SPIDER!

Lygodium Spider Moth, Siamusotima aranea

Habitat: Thailand
Status: Not Listed

Now this is an example of mimicry at its finest! This newly discovered species (2005) of moth dubbed the Lygodium Spider Moth (Siamusotima aranea) is so named for its preference of feeding on Lygodium species, an invasive Old World climbing fern, and has markings on its wings that make it look just like a spider with orange, spindly legs! This moth mimics a spider so well that I couldn’t even tell what it was at first when I saw the picture from far away!

Not only is this moth significant for its unique mimicry behavior, which is believed to help it ward off potential predators, but also because of its voracious appetite for the Lygodium ferns, which have developed as an invasive weed that threatens Florida’s wetlands. Its discovery gives rise to potential biological control of the ferns in the United States.

The moth has other unique features, as well. For one, its caterpillar form looks more like some beetle larvae. The adult moth also has armored segments on its rear similar to those on beetles but unlike anything seen before in a moth. (source) Then of course, the uncanny resemblance to a spider which gives it the aranea part of its scientific name.

All in all, this is one fascinating ‘new’ creature!