Subject: Large moth with undeveloped wings
Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
May 30, 2017 10:27 pm
I was walking today and saw an English sparrow trying to carry off a very large bug.
Its body was about the size of my thumb in length and possibly slightly larger in girth (I have average sized female type thumbs).
At first I thought the wings were damaged, possibly by the sparrow, but upon closer examination it was clear that the wings were intact, just very very small.
Is this a moth that did not properly metamorphosize? It did move in a caterpillary kind of way when I moved it off the pavement.
Maybe some kind of Polyphemus?
Signature: Elaine Shandro
This is NOT a Polyphemus Moth, but it is a newly eclosed Sphinx Moth in the family Sphingidae. When Moths and Butterflies emerge from the pupal stage, their wings are not yet fully expanded and they cannot fly. Within a few hours of emergence, the wings will expand and harden and the insect is able to fly. Since your Sphinx Moth had recently emerged from the final stage of metamorphosis, its wings appear undeveloped. At this stage, they are especially vulnerable as they are unable to flee from predators. We believe your Sphinx Moth may be a Waved Sphinx, which is pictured on Sphingidae of the Americas.