Hawaiian Dancing Moth

This molecular moth was only about 3mm long. I wouldn’t have even known it was alive if it hadn’t actually flown up and perched right in front of my camera. I managed two shots, wondering what on earth it was, before it flew off. Just sitting on a surface, it looks like a tiny fleck of straw.

Hawaiian dancing moths, or just dancing moths (Dryadaula terpsichorella) are native to Polynesia, Samoa, and Fiji, but they’ve also been seen both in Hawaii and Florida. It’s called the “dancing” moth because of the erratic, gyrating movements it goes through every time it lands (which is the only reason I noticed it in front of my camera in the first place).

Now that I knew what to look for, when I saw another “fleck of straw” the following day, I pursued it and got pictures as it landed on a window. Then there was another one on my fence! The next day I saw another on a tree! (Now I’m wandering around my yard, squinting at dust to see if it is a microlepidopteran. I’m sure the neighbors think I’m insane.)

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