This lovely visitor, Syntomeida epilais commonly called the polka-dot wasp moth or oleander moth, is sitting on a Christmas cactus on the patio. I hadn’t seen one before, so I took the photo and then researched to see what it is. I learned it is unusual in that it emits a sonic sound to attract mates instead of attracting them by releasing scent and it is active during the day not at night like most moths. (see An Exception to the Rules and Oleander Caterpillar)
Now that I know what it is, I realize I saw one of the caterpillars, orange with black bristles, a few weeks ago sitting on a leaf of an oleander plant (see image). At the time I thought it was a Fritillary caterpillar (see image) which is also orange with black bristles. A few of the polka-dot wasp moth caterpillars can strip an oleander plant in a few days. They eat the entire leaf and not just the underside of the leaf as many caterpillars do. The oleander is a common plant in Florida and not always valued when planning a garden, but I enjoy the deep pink of the flowers just off the patio. I don’t want to lose them, so I’ll have to keep an eye out for larvae.