sphinx-moth

When people tell me they think moths are gross and creepy but are perfectly alright with butterflies, I’m just like… what?

like, are we looking at the same bug here?

Cuz 

This

Is

Fucking

Amazing


Also, I really don’t think you’ve seen a butterfly up close before. Like, they’re really cool too, but moths are cute as fuck and butterflies are kinda creepy up close

Butterfly = 

Moth = 

There’s also just a lot of really cool facts about moths and butterflies, that make them both ten times cooler. 

Bug of the Day

Ok, theredthrone​ said “i wanna see, the biggest moth you got“ and this one sure qualifies!

This huge Waved Sphinx (Ceratomia undulosa) dive-bombed me at the light last night and then would *not* get off of my arm. I don’t think I will ever get used to that feeling of a big moth walking on my skin, it feels like two pieces of velcro slowly being ripped apart…

Death’s Head Moth (Acherontia atropos)

This Death’s head moth may have a nice skull pattern on its thorax, but its disguise is actually its scent.

Adults in this genus are sugar-loving (like some humans you may know) and this species, Acherontia atropos, specializes in visiting the hives of the Western Honey Bee for honey. It is able to enter the hive and access this treat because it mimics the scent of the resident bees.

Read more: Encyclopedia of Life

Photo: Malcolm Storey via BioImages

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9/9/16               Hornworms (larvae) -    Hawk Moths (adults)         

My man says they are a huge bug on my tomato , ME WHERE!

Has already eaten one tomato this size today was mad when it ate all the rest of the stalk and stood up, I had to sneek another one. So we will see in the morning how much it has ate!!!  Love the little hairy (claw) Feet!!!!

Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths)
Superfamily Bombycoidea (Silkworm, Sphinx, and Royal Moths)
Family Sphingidae (Sphinx Moths)
Other Common Names
Hawk Moths (adults)
Hornworms (larvae)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Sphingidae Latreille, 1802
Explanation of Names
Sphingidae from the type genus Sphinx (Linnaeus), for the Egyptian Sphinx.
Common name “Hornworm” due to the stiff pointy dorsal extension near the end of the abdomen of most larvae.
Numbers
There are 124 described species found in America north of Mexico.(1)
Size
Wingspan 28-175 mm.
Identification
Adult - medium to very large. Body very robust; abdomen usually tapering to a sharp point. Wings usually narrow; forewing sharp-pointed or with an irregular outer margin. No ocelli or tympanal organs. Proboscis usually well developed, extremely long in some species that feed in flowers with deep calyxes. Antennae gradually thicken along length, then become narrower toward tip.
Larva - naked except for a few scattered hairs. Most have a prominent dorsal horn at the tip of abdomen (thus the name, hornworms).
Range
Throughout North America.
Season
Year round in the south
Food
Larvae feed both day and night on many kinds of woody and herbaceous plants.
Adults feed on nectar and some are important pollinators.
Life Cycle
Usually pupate in soil, though some form loose cocoons among leaf litter.
Remarks
Some are active only at night, others at twilight or dawn, and some, such as the clearwings (e.g. genus Hemaris - not to be confused with the Clearwing family, Sesiidae) feed on flower nectar during the day.
Some larvae (hornworms) do serious damage to crop plants (e.g. tomato, tobacco, potato). Hornworms are often attacked by braconid wasp parasitoids.

youtube

Secret of “Death” Moth’s Scary Squeak Revealed

The ominous insect, immortalized in The Silence of the Lambs, has rapid, accordion-like mouthparts that allow it to make sound, a new study says.

by James Owen

Immortalized in the horror movie The Silence of the Lambs and in folklore as a night-flying harbinger of doom, the death’s head hawk moth has a ghoulish reputation. Truth be told, though, its most shocking feature is a funny squeak.

Many insects make noise by rubbing together external body parts like wings and legs. But internally produced insect sounds are much rarer, and squeaky noises are known only in some hawk moths.

How death’s head moths, named for a skull-and-crossbones pattern on their heads, make such a sound has long been a puzzle.

Now, after recording the moth’s internal sound system in action for the first time, scientists have an answer: A two-part, accordion-like system whose rapid movements produce sound…

(read more: National Geographic)

photograph by BLICKWINKEL, ALAMY

Moths celebrate Halloween too….

This hawkmoth (most likely a Violet Gliding Hawkmoth (Ambulyx liturata, Sphingidae)), has been parasitized by an Akanthomyces fungus (probably Akanthomyces pistillariiformis), a Cordyceps anamorph peculiar to moths.

The moth picked up fungal “spores” at some stage which gradually began invading its body to a point where, while it was at rest on this leaf, the moth died. The fungus then totally engulfs and embalms the corpse producing this macabre sight. Such conquests are regularly seen in this climate in smaller moths, but larger victims are almost frightening to look at.
I encountered a similar example around the same time three years ago, also in a hawkmoth (see image below). At the time, I collected that specimen and still have it sealed in a container, unchanged…frozen in time….mummified……

External image


by Sinobug (itchydogimages) on Flickr.
Pu'er, Yunnan, China

See more Chinese insects and spiders on my Flickr site HERE……
Made with Flickr
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7/13/15

Order Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths) No Taxon  (Moths) Superfamily Bombycoidea Family Sphingidae (Sphinx Moths) Subfamily Smerinthinae Tribe Smerinthini Genus Paonias Species excaecata (Blinded Sphinx - Hodges#7824)

Hodges Number 7824 Other Common Names Blind-eyed Sphinx Synonyms and other taxonomic changes Paonias excaecata (alternate spelling)
Sometimes misspelled “exaecatus”, probably repeating a mistake in Covell’s plate in the first edition (1), corrected in the second (2005) edition Explanation of Names EXCAECATUS: from Latin excaeco “to blind”, which derives from Latin “caecus” (blind)
BLINDED SPHINX: speculative origin - the small blue spot (or “iris”) on the hindwing has no central black spot (or “pupil”) - see image - and is therefore “blind”; compare the hindwing spot of Smerinthus cerisyi whose large black pupil allows it to “see” Size Wingspan 55-95 mm Identification Adult: forewing various shades of brown with conspicuously scalloped outer margin; fringe white, composed of thin arcs in sinuses between scallops; median area may have purplish tint, and subterminal area may have greenish tint; hindwing brown in upper half, pink in lower half; large black spot near inner margin has small central blue spot with no black spot inside it

Larva: body green or yellowish-green, heavily granulose, and with dense white speckles; oblique yellow line extends from base of proleg on A6 to dorsal horn on A8; six oblique yellow lines from A2-A6; white spiracles with black rim; occasionally red spots near spiracles and prolegs; horn somewhat arched below, extending to end of body; head triangular with line of whitened granulose spots running to vertex Range all of United States and southern Canada Habitat open deciduous forests, woodland edges, clearings, shrubby areas, gardens; adults are nocturnal and attracted to light Season adults fly May-August; most common in June and July in the north and west
larvae present May-November Food Larvae feed on leaves of a variety of deciduous trees and shrubs, including apple, basswood, birch, cherry, elm, Hardhack (Spiraea douglasii), hawthorn, Hop Hornbeam (Ostrya virginiana), Ninebark (Physocarpus capitatum), Ocean Spray (Holodiscus discolor), poplar, rose, serviceberry (Amelanchier spp.), willow
Adults do not feed Life Cycle two or three generations per year in the south, one generation in the north and west; overwinters as a pupa.


Freak of Nature

A truly bizarre and awesome Moth Caterpillar (Oberthueria sp., Endromidae), hangs in “lifeless mode” due to my disturbing its branch to get a shot. Body length almost 12cm (~5 inches) plus tail. And yes, thats a shield or hood (similar to a Hooded Mantis) behind its head.

External image


by Sinobug (itchydogimages) on Flickr.
Pu’er, Yunnan, China

See more Chinese caterpillars on my Flickr site HERE…..
Made with Flickr
flickr

Sphinx moth, Xylophanes crotonis by Andreas Kay
Via Flickr:
from Ecuador: www.flickr.com/andreaskay/albums