White-lined Sphinx Moth


Yesterday I poked my nose across the fence and asked my neighbor, Lois, if she had seen any hummingbird moths this year. She responded in the negative and asked if I knew the reason. I didn't.

Across the street lives Bill. He in his eighties and sees and knows everything. So I mosied on over there and asked his opinion.

"By Golly," he quipped, when he finally understood what I was asking. (He is nearly deaf), "You know I haven't seen any of those critters, either."

Today was a long day -- Friday is a love-hate day for me. I work until 6, and then I come home and usually get to have dinner somewhere with our friends Bud, Vee, and little K. Tonight we ordered pizza. Before they and the pizza showed up, I scampered out to the back fence to empty my small counter top composter into the big black bin.

AND GUESS WHAT I ENCOUNTERED. You betcha - the first White-Lined Sphinx Moth of the season. The camera was sitting beside the computer where the hubby had downloaded eleventy jillion pictures of the pond he'd taken this afternoon from every angle possible. (Seriously, he took 53 shots. I counted them.)

Once the camera was in hand I rushed back out there and got ONE PICTURE before it zoomed away across the fence. I'm totally amazed that I didn't jiggle the camera and get it blurry.

These moths are so pretty that you just can't imagine how truly ugly they are in the caterpillar stage. I've seen them many times on my tomato plants, eating them right down to the stem.




I went out to the internet and picked up this picture, so you would believe it.


I've seen them up to four inches long. They splat like rotton fruit when you drop them on the sidewalk. I have not seen any caterpillars this season and had decided that there had been some failure of the larvae to survive last winter.

Well, we know one did. Beautiful, too!

Comments

kailani said…
You take the most amazing photos! I've never seen a butterfly like that before. It's so cool!
Swampwitch said…
How do you know they splat like rotten fruit when dropped on the sidewalk? Great picture. We have them occasionally here in the high desert and when they dive bomb one's head, one almost jumps out of one's shoes.
Swampwitch said…
P.S. When will we get to see the 53 pictures of the pond?
Amanda said…
Yeah, Mom.... you sound pretty morbid, talking about murdering caterpillers on asphalt. Beauties for flicks, by the way!
Julie said…
One question for you. When they splat like rotten fruit is it a white splat? Weird question I know. McD's Grandmother (90 years old) told us that all of the caterpillars she had been killing were making white splotches on her sidewalk when she killed them and that it meant that we were going to have a hard winter.
Anonymous said…
Beautiful photos! I only saw one of those "hummingbird moths" for the first time a couple of years ago - aren't they interesting? It was dusk and one was hovering around my mom's flower bed, and I said "what is a hummingbird doing out this time of day?" We all went in for a closer look, saw the antennaes and realized that it was a moth! They are really cool!
Laura said…
Anything that splats is not something that I want to take a gander at.

But, I wish that every junior high girl could see that caterpillar and know what's comin.....
Tricia said…
You're so lucky to have taken such a fantastic photo with your ONE shot. Good work! We grow tomatos so we tend to get some Hummingbird moths around here occasionally too, but I haven't seen any this year.

The ones we get around here are called Pink Spotted Hawksmoth - here is one photo I managed to capture a few years ago when one was making an evening visit:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/dragonden/150612335/in/set-72057594123860828/

Thanks for all of your visits to my photoblog! :)
Karmyn R said…
Well, no wonder you haven't had any hummingbird moths this year if you keep "splatting" them on the sidewalk. Sheesh -

I can remember catching tomato worms with Grandpa W. I had a jar of them (the things had horns and smelled of tomatos - were these them, or am I thinking of something else?)
ablondeblogger said…
This reminds me of the time we had a Luna Moth on our palladium (sp?) window and it scared us to death! I'd never seen anything that looked like that and we were just staring at it in awe.

We later found out it was a Luna moth and that it's rare to see one. Pretty cool!
C said…
That is pretty cool! I always feel like a kid when I see things like this...
willowtree said…
Geez Pamela, your camera takes good closeups (of course I acknowledge your ability too).

I'm afraid I have to agree with the daughters on this one ;)
vee and k said…
great job. you are indeed an inspiration and avid bird watcher. we love it. vee and k
jenn said…
truly beautiful. I've never seen such a big moth before!
Pass the Torch said…
Fantastic! I swear, we never see anything but Monarchs around her.
Robin said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Robin said…
Yup, blogging is educational :). First time I've seen one of these pretties...tell me again, what's the difference between a butterfly and a moth? I guess I'll google it eventually.

Sounds like a "gift" from the gardengods just for you...timing and everything.

For the record, I love pictures of your pond, but I sure don't wanna see 53 pics of them (it's like watching old fashioned slide shows :) ).

Kelly's gonna be ticked if she sees her typo. I sure was ticked to see all of mine! :/
Walker said…
THANKS a million for that photo. I've always wondered what that moth looks like.
Again, loving your photos! I could use you this week to help with my son's bug project. We must collect, identify, and display 20 different insects. Too bad we can't do photos!!

Popular posts from this blog

Sing in Spring

An Old Cold Spot