Venezuelan Poodle Moth: Is It Real Or Photoshop?
August 27, 2012

Venezuelan Poodle Moth: Is It Real Or Photoshop?

Lawrence LeBlond for - Your Universe Online

Most moths can be easily identified when you look at them, however some have dazzling features that could make even the most well-trained eye do a double take. Then there is the Venezuelan Poodle Moth -- a bizarre-looking creature covered with white fluffy hair, large black eyes and funky antennae protruding from the head.

When images of the newest discovery made it online a week ago, many cried foul, accusing that the image was doctored using Photoshop or some other image editing software. But lo and behold, the image is in fact real.

The image, taken by Dr. Arthur Anker from Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, is just one of 75 photos taken from Gran Sabana National Park in Venezuela and appears in a collection on the scientists Flickr page. The photo was investigated by Dr. Karl Shuker, a zoologist, science writer, and cryptozoologist.

Among the photos, Shuker highlighted some of the most bedazzling finds on his blog, ShukerNature.

He said: “These photographs formed just one set of numerous spectacular images that Art has taken while visiting tropical rainforests and other exotic locations worldwide, and which he has placed in photosets on the Flickr website.”

The image of the Venezuelan Poodle Moth first surfaced in 2009 on Anker´s Flickr account. But there it remained, not getting any public attention until someone, who likened it to a Pokemon character, posted the image online, where it then took off like a rocket.

A colleague of Dr. Shuker investigated the moth and found it to be very similar in appearance to another documented species. Called the Muslin Moth (Diaphora mendica), this insect of the lepidopteran family Arctiidae resembles Anker´s moth very closely. However, unlike Anker´s moth, which was found in Venezuela, the Muslin moth is found in the Northern Hemisphere in the Russian Palearctic. And despite being eerily similar in appearance to the Poodle Moth, D. mendica is noticeably less fluffy.

Further investigation has yielded little findings. However, based on the fact that there are over 6000 Neotropical species within the Arctiidae moth family, it is very plausible that the Poodle Moth could be a close relation to the Muslin Moth.

What do you think?