Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Sphinx Moth!

I was out in the backyard the other night with a flashlight in my hand when a really big moth flew by in front of me and landed on the edge of a garden bed. Early in the season I saw a big sphinx moth of some kind (judging by the shape of the wings) feeding on petunias in hanging baskets on the front porch on several occasions, but I never had a flashlight handy (kept forgetting about it until I saw it again), so never got a good look. This time, by sheer accident, I was all set.

Pandorus Sphinx

The moth buzzed its wings as it lay on the ground for a bit, then quieted, letting me get a very good look, and take this not so good picture. The moth wasn't in either of my mickey-mouse guides, and a search of the web didn't turn it up, or at least produced lists of images of possibilities so long that I didn't have the patience to wait for each to load so that I could compare them. So once again I turned to the BugGuide. And I wasn't disappointed. Within the hour I had my answer: Pandorus Sphinx (Eumorpha pandorus).

This is a very beautiful moth, with a quite stunning caterpillar. There are better images at the Moth Photographers Group here. The caterpillar feeds on Wild Grape and Virginia Creeper, which we have in abundance around here--grape for ever, and Virginia Creeper starting to catch up (because of the warmer winters perhaps). Another caterpillar to keep my eyes open for.

The moth was motionless on the ground when I left it, and gone by morning.


Granny J said...

Thanks for the links. Last night, a huge moth landed on one of my window screens, suggesting it's time for post about screen critters. Now I know where to go for IDs

burning silo said...

Lucky you to see such a nice moth! I've seen and photographed the Pandora Sphinx caterpillar down along the Cataraqui Trail near Opinicon Lake, but have not seen the moth as yet.

Linda said...

Last year I had the clear wing hummingbird moths in my garden ... fascinating to watch. I do have a photo of them on my blog.

Thanks for your help in identifying my tussock moth. That is a great site and I'm going to be looking further into it.

I drive past your part of the world on my way to work.

Anonymous said...

I just found one on my front door. I believe it may be lost ... awful strange place to find one. In town on a door frame. No vines here or anything to feed on. Wonder if it came in on someones vehicle? From out of town maybe.

Keswick, Ontario

Generic Viagra said...

oh my sweet God!!! is enormous, definitely in this world some animals are more than we can watch in the TV, for example the other day I saw a emperoror scorpion, I can't believe the size of this beauty animal.