Adrian writes on his blog: There can be few members of the Lepidoptera as odd as this creature which confronted me in the rainforests of Trinidad. While walking along a trail, my attention was caught by what appeared to be a dead leaf which seemed to have fallen and settled on green foliage. A spider appeared to be sitting in the middle of it. Closer examination revealed that the “dead leaf” was in fact the wings of a moth, and the “spider” was it’s body and legs.
The animal had adopted an extremely odd posture, with it’s body upright, and its legs and outstretched wings held in a vertical plane. I gave it the nickname “Sit on it’s bum moth.” Identification proved very difficult as there is hardly any published material about neotropical moths available for reference.
For many years I was completely mystified by the insect, but it was was finally identified 10 years later by Mike Shaffer of the British Natural History Museum, as Siculodes aurorula, a member of the Thyrididae. My specimen was the first ever recorded in Trinidad.
The wings are a marvellous example of camouflage - perfectly disguised as a dead leaf, complete with windows to simulate the nibblings of insects, and spotted with dark areas that could easily be mistaken for leaf mould. The photograph finally revealed the reason for the incredibly long legs which had long puzzled entomologists who had studied the museum specimen. The moth needed long legs so that it could rest in this very odd upright posture.
Other moths protection strategies:
Sycamore Moth disappearing into a tree
Metalmark Moth Mimicking a Jumping Spider