Extreme Bugs: Mothra

Extreme Bugs: Mothra

Spoiler alert! No, the titanic moth creature from the Godzilla universe does not exist in real life. But our most recent ‘Extreme Bug’ is definitely creepy if not downright frightening. Good thing it’s native to Australia, not Florida.

To be fair, the Southern Pink Underwing Moth itself is quite lovely. But like many creatures from the land down under, it has developed certain defense mechanisms. In this case, to protect itself in its pre-metamorphosed state.

Before and after Phyllodes imperialis southern emerges from their cocoons, they face any number of threats, including extinction. Pink Underwing Moths are the largest and most endangered moths in Australia. They live almost exclusively in the rainforest areas south of Brisbane.

The Beauty and the Beastly

When the mostly brown moth is threatened, it flashes the pink underside of its wings. This startles would-be predators. The caterpillar, however, has a much more unique defense mechanism.

Very young caterpillars are nothing to look at – thin bodies with just a very dull brown coloring. In this state, they often blend with their surroundings.

But as they age, they develop very unique markings. When the caterpillar is scared, it bends almost in half, tucking its head and legs underneath. This reveals an eerie sight – two empty appearing dark eye sockets, surrounded by white flecks, reminiscent of a toothy skull.

Birds and other predators react to the scary skull face much like we imagine most humans would.

Unfortunately, the species faces an even more difficult battle. Because there are such small numbers of the creatures, scientists have found it difficult to study them. There is, to date, insufficient evidence to even make a concerted effort to assist them.

It doesn’t help that the moths’ primary food source is almost as rare as they are. While they can get nutrients from a few vines in the snake vine family, their main nourishment comes from the Carronia multisepalea vine.

One species that isn’t endangered enough is the German cockroach. Thankfully, our most popular solution handles most of the common creepy crawlies we encounter in Florida homes. Go Green Perimeter Plus is an affordable, green solution that our customers love. If you’d like more details, or to schedule your first treatment appointment before things get too busy, just give us a call!

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