I hadn’t really planned to do more shooting today, but we had a pretty good rain early in the day and, when I went out to see if any of our flowers had broken and fallen over, to bring in for display in a vase, I was drawn to our lovely beds of surprise lilies (Lycoris squamigera), which also bear the common name “naked ladies.” As I pulled up a chair and focused in, my photo angel Frances paid me a sudden visit, for what—to my wondering eyes—should appear(?), but a brightly colored insect that was completely new to my experience, slowly coming into view and apparently enjoying the raindrop remnants.
During the session, which lasted maybe 10 minutes, I was pretty sure it was a small beetle, possibly a variety of tiger beetle, but when I had the chance to study my images and was able to make out the fringed edges of the wings, its actual identity as a moth became clear.
I found a similar moth online, and at first thought it was Utethesia ornatrix, commonly known as a bella moth, ornate moth, or rattlebox moth. I have since revised my tentative ID, thanks to Texas photographer Steve Schwartzman (see his comment below–and check out his website; there’s a link here in my right column), and I’m now confident that it’s an Atteva aurea, also known as an ermine moth or an ailanthus webworm moth.