Currently viewing the category: "Hummingbird Moths, Sphinx Moths or Hawk Moths"
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Subject: Camo moth
Location: Virginia, US
September 21, 2015 6:11 pm
This moth was hanging out low on a brick wall on an Army post in Virginia on September 21, 2015. I’ve never seen a moth wearing a military uniform before.
Signature: PB

Pandorus Sphinx

Pandorus Sphinx

Dear PB,
You are not the first person who has likened the markings on a Pandorus Sphinx to camouflage print fabric.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Brown Moth
Location:  Cape Coral, Florida
Mon, Sep 21, 2015 8:37 am
This moth looks like he was carved our of mahogany wood – is it a
type of Spinx moth?  It was about  1.5 – 2 inches long
Bonnie
I have found out that it is a Streaked Sphinx moth.
Here is a picture  It was on our wall in Cape Coral, Florida

Streaked Sphinx

Streaked Sphinx

Hi Bonnie,
We are happy to learn that you identified your Streaked Sphinx,
Protambulyx strigilis, before we had a chance to respond.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Sleek Moth, Perhaps a Sphinx?
Location: Coryell County, Texas
September 20, 2015 3:17 pm
Hello, we saw this beautiful and rather large moth on Tuesday, September 15th at 4 PM. Sunny and quite warm weather, 90 degrees with a light breeze, gorgeous day. This moth first flew flower to flower, and it may have been avoiding the watering hose or perhaps feeding on the purple asters. As we approached it, it landed on the flowers and stayed perfectly still until after sundown; it was gone the next morning.
Side note: I would have gotten closer to it, but we had just pulled a meter-long snakeskin from these very flowers. It’s been The Summer of the Snakes around here.
I looked at moths on your site. Is it a Tersa Sphinx (Xylophanes tersa)?
It reminds me of a balsa wood stealth jet, unreal looking, so lovely.
Thank you and best wishes!
Signature: Ellen

Tersa Sphinx

Tersa Sphinx

Dear Ellen,
Your identification of this Tersa Sphinx is absolutely correct.  According to the Sphingidae of the Americas site:  “Adults begin feeding at sunset from flowers including honeysuckle (Lonicera), four o’clocks (Mirabilis jalapa) and Asystasia gangetica. ”  It sounds as if you observation includes feeding at least three hours prior to sunset.  Perhaps the garden hose startled it into flying earlier in the day than it would typically begin flying.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Unknown Insect
Location: Hillsville, VA 24343
September 3, 2015 8:50 pm
Aloha,
This specimen looks like a cross betwen a bee and a dragon fly.
Thank you fot your time and consideration.
Signature: Lance in Hillsville, VA

Hummingbird Clearwing

Hummingbird Clearwing

Hola Lance,
This diurnal Sphinx Moth owes its common name to its likeness to a totally different winged phylum.  The Hummingbird Clearwing can be distinguished from its genus members by its light legs and white underbelly.  This image from BugGuide illustrates those traits.  A faster shutter speed like 2000 should freeze its rapidly beating wings.  The flights of the Hummingbird Sphinx and its namesake are remarkably similar.

Hummingbird Clearwing

Hummingbird Clearwing

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Beekiller?
Location: Germany
August 31, 2015 12:23 pm
Hi guys,
my dad found this in one of his beehives? It’s about 2.8 inches long and I have absolutely no idea what this could be.
Kind regards,
Signature: Benedikt

Death's Head Hawkmoth, we presume.

Death’s Head Hawkmoth, we presume.

Dear Benedikt,
Would that we had a lepidopterist on our staff, we could conclusively provide you with an identification of this Hawkmoth based on vein patterns and other characteristics, but you have submitted your request to a pop culture site with artists, not entomologists, on its staff.  Since there are no scales remaining on the wings or body of this Hawkmoth in the family Sphingidae, our identification is conjecture.  We believe this is a Death’s Head Hawkmoth,
Acherontia atropos, a species reported in Europe during the summer months.  According to Sphingidae of the Western Palaearctic:  “Many individuals have been seen to frequent bee-hives where, upon entry, they feed undisturbed on the honey, puncturing combs with their short, sharp proboscises. Moritz et al. (1991) have shown that this species makes itself ‘chemically invisible’ to honeybees by mimicking the cutaneous fatty acids of its hosts. If disturbed while feeding, or for that matter at any other time, the adults raise their wings, run and hop around, while emitting high-pitched squeaks.”  We don’t know what caused the loss of wing and body scales in your individual, which resulted in a loss of the visual characteristics of the species, including the thoracic pattern that has been likened to a human skull.  You did not indicate if the moth was found dead or alive.  We believe it would have been very difficult for your individual to fly in its condition, we causes us to conjecture that it lost its life once it entered the bee hive, though we cannot say if it was stung by bees as an intruder, or if your father killed it while attempting to collect it.  As we know of no other Hawkmoths that enter bee hives, we are relatively certain our identification is correct.  According to Encyclopedia of Life:  “Nectar and sugar eaters, adult moths like honey, and because they produce a scent mimicking the scent of bees, they can climb into hives without alarming the bees inside. Their thick skin also protects them from stings. Unlike the other two species which are more general in types of bees they raid, A. atropos only invades the hives of the Western honey bee, Apis mellifera. Another unusual feature of this moth is that it makes a loud squeaking sound as a protective device if it is threatened.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Found this at work. York, England.
Location: York, England
August 30, 2015 3:57 am
I found this little dude asleep at work. He crawled onto my hand and sat for ages before I put him on a bush outside. I’ve never seen anything like this guy! He was big for English moths!
Signature: Laura, England

LIme Hawkmoth

LIme Hawkmoth

Hi Laura,
This beauty is a Lime Hawkmoth,
Mimas tiliae, and according to UK Moths:  “A reasonably common species in the southern half of Britain, it was most frequent in the London area, where there are still extensive tree-lined avenues. In recent years its distribution has spread northwards and is now regularly found well into North Yorkshire and beyond.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination