7/16/15                Absolutely  Gorgeous !!!!!!!

Order Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths) No Taxon  (Moths) Superfamily Bombycoidea Family Sphingidae (Sphinx Moths) Subfamily Macroglossinae Tribe Macroglossini Genus Eumorpha Species pandorus (Pandorus Sphinx - Hodges#7859) 

Hodges Number 7859 Other Common Names Pandora Sphinx Synonyms and other taxonomic changes First described in 1806 by Jacob Hübner as Daphnis pandorus
Eumorpha pandorus Explanation of Names Greek pandoros (πανδωρος) can mean either “giving all” or “given all”. The name Pandora (πανδωρα) is the feminine form of this word. Size Wingspan 87-115 mm Identification Adult: forewing olive green with darker green apical patch and border along inner margin, broken near anal angle; pink streaks near middle of wing and at inner margin; double black discal spot; hindwing whitish basally, green distally, with two large black patches, and some pink at anal angle
[adapted from description by Charles Covell]

Larva: body bright green or reddish-brown with swollen third thoracic segment into which head and first 2 thoracic segments can be drawn; abdomen with small white to yellow spot on segment 2 and large oval spots around spiracle on third to seventh segments; whiplike horn of early instars replaced with button in last stage; thorax and anterior abdominal segments with dorsal black spotting
[adapted from description by David Wagner and Valerie Giles] Range Eastern United States (Maine to Florida, west to Texas, north to Nebraska and Wisconsin) plus Ontario and Nova Scotia Season adults fly from May to October
larvae present from June to November Food Larvae feed on leaves of peppervine (Ampelopsis spp.), grape (Vitis spp.), and Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia). Life Cycle one generation per year in the north; two generations in the south Remarks An extra-spectacular sphinx moth.

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


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



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.


Pluto Sphinx (Xylophanes pluto)

Found throughout the tropics and subtropics of the Americas. In the United States, it is found in Southern Texas and South Florida. They have a wingspan of about 5.3–6.5 cm. The caterpillars feed on the leaves of a variety of plants, including Coca plants, Hamelia, and Yawweed.

photographs: pondhawk and Cheryl Harleston


Eumorpha pandorus, the Pandora Sphinx Moth.

I came across this lovely little girl a couple of years ago and seriously couldn’t believe my eyes.  One of the most beautiful species of moth I’ve ever had the pleasure of photographing.

From Wikipedia:

Female adults lay translucent eggs singly on leaves of the host plant, mainly Vitis (grapes), and Parthenocissus (Virginia creeper). Caterpillars are large, green or red with a swollen third thorax segment into which the head and first two thoractic segments can be drawn. The abdomen has a small white spot on the second segment, and big white oval spots the last five spiracles. They also have the characteristic “horn” at the end of the abdomen, until it is replaced by a button in its last instar. Larvae consume copious amounts of foliage, and when they are ready they climb down their host plant and burrow underground, where they pupate. The pupa is dark brown in color, quite slender, and has a long cremaster. There the pupa will remain for either a couple of weeks or a couple of months, depending on the generation. When the pupa is ready, it wiggles to the surface just prior to eclosion. The newly emerged adults then climb on a plant or some other surface, and pump fluid into their wings to extend them. Females emit pheromones at night, and males fly into the wind to pick up and track the pheromone plume.