Location: Germantown MD
June 10, 2014 5:56 am
I found this bug on a potted plant while relocating our belongings. Upon first glance I thought that it was a dead leaf on the plant, but upon closer examination, I found otherwise. When I attempted to have it crawl onto my finger, it immediately began to expel a white substance from it rear end. This was not a small set of droplets, but powerful stream.
Is this just a moth without formed wings?
This is a freshly eclosed Sphinx Moth, and when butterflies or moths emerge from the pupal state, their wings are wet and shriveled. They eventually fill with hemolymph, the insect blood, and harden. Sometimes, for various reasons including injury, the wings never fully expand. We cannot say for certain, but it most closely resembles and Elm Sphinx, Ceratomia amyntor, to us. Compare your image to the ones of fully expanded wings posted on the Sphingidae of the Americas site. We will try to check with Bill Oehlke to see if he can verify that identification.
Bill Oehlke Confirms
Yes, Ceratomia amyntor, the Elm Sphinx