What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Aggressive Moth?
Location: West Los Angeles
October 8, 2016 6:02 pm
Hi Bugman,
I thought this was just a large moth, but when I got close to touching it, it spread it’s wings and arched it’s back. As I got closer to take the pictures. it arched it’s back more as if it were telling me to stay away.
Can you identify it?
Thx,
Signature: Jeff Bremer

Carolina Sphinx

Carolina Sphinx

Dear Jeff,
This is one of two species in the genus
Manduca, either the Carolina Sphinx (see BugGuide) or the Five Spotted Hawkmoth (see BugGuide), and as far as you are concerned, we suspect the exact species is not critical.  We believe it is the Carolina Sphinx.  Both have caterpillars that feed on the leaves of tomato plants and other related plants in the nightshade family, including pepper and eggplant which are cultivated, and plants like deadly nightshade and jimsonweed that are native plants that are toxic to humans.  Neither Manduca species is a threat to humans, unless a moth flies in the face of someone driving a vehicle or climbing a ladder, potentially causing a serious accident by startling that human into wrecking the vehicle or falling off the ladder.  Adult moths are not capable of biting.

Carolina Sphinx

Carolina Sphinx

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: West Los Angeles

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