Big Brown Moth
Location: Houston, Texas
March 21, 2011 9:41 pm
I found this very large moth on the outside of the house in the afternoon, September 11 2009. I thought it was a weirdly stuck leaf but, on closer inspection, it turned out to be a cool moth. It seemed really docile and allowed me to pick it up and mess with it without reacting very much. I brought it inside with me and set it on a plant inside. It started acting up right then, sprayed a white fluid out of it’s rear end and started flying around. I had gotten some of the white fluid on me so it washed it off while the giant insect tried to escape. I eventually got it out of the house but not after chasing it all over and losing track of it a few times.
I found this website recently and I wondered if you could tell me what sort of moth it was and what it sprayed at me.
Signature: Thanks, Kelly Bufkin
Your moth is a Walnut Sphinx, Amorpha juglandis, and you can verify that by looking at the images on the Sphingidae of the Americas website. Bill Oehlke writes: “The adults are also highly variable; sometimes wings of an individual may be all one color or may have several colors, ranging from pale to dark brown, and may have a white or pink tinge. Patterns range from faint to pronounced.” We have never heard of a Sphinx Moth spraying, and we suspect the fluid it exuded may have been a residual product of metamorphosis.
I looked through the moths people had sent in before and I saw a lot of other kinds of sphinxes. They did look like my moth but not quite, haha. For it to spray at me I must have scared it or something. Thank you for identifying it!