Currently viewing the category: "Hummingbird Moths, Sphinx Moths or Hawk Moths"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Lost in Texas or native?
Location: SanAntonio, Texas
March 19, 2017 9:14 am
I think I’ve got the same moth here in San Antonio, Texas…but what I read doesn’t list Texas for it’s home area….
Signature: Katettt

Tersa Sphinx

Dear Katettt,
This Tersa Sphinx is a native species in Texas, based on the distribution map on BugGuide.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Death’s-Head Hawkmoth in Dubai
Location: Dubai, UAE
February 6, 2017 6:47 am
Hi there!
We have a big black moth on our balcony in Dubai. It has been laying there for over a week. Every now and then it moves positions on our long balcony, but it doesn’t seem to want to leave.
We nudged it a couple of times with a broom and it is definitely alive as its wings opened up a little, but it quickly curled back and went back to rest.
After taking pictures on my camera and looking at images online, I came to the conclusion that it is the Death’s-Head Hawkmoth. But I am still unsure.
My question is, why is it absolutely still? It doesn’t move at all! At the moment, it is hiding most of its body under a pile of wood and has been there for 2-3 days. Is it hibernating or about to give birth? What is the best way to get rid of it? If it is pregnant, I am not very keen on having a bunch of caterpillars around, as I do have a massive phobia of insects!!
At the moment, the weather here ranges from 20-25 Celcius during the day to 15-20 Celcius at night.
Thanks for your help! 🙂
Signature: Anisha

Death’s Head Hawkmoth

Dear Anisha,
Though your image does not include the distinctive, namesake, skull-like markings on the thorax of this Death’s Head Hawkmoth, the markings on the wings and abdomen do indicate your identification is correct.  According to the BBC:  “Unlike other moths, death’s-head hawkmoths mostly eat honey, which is thick and gloopy compared to nectar. So Brehm thinks the moths modified their sucking action to allow the viscous honey to flow freely. … To get honey, death’s-head hawkmoths enter the hives of honeybees (
Apis mellifera).”  According to UK Safari:  “The larvae feed on potato plants, Buddleia and Deadly Nightshade (Atropa belladonna).”  Unless you have those plants on your balcony, you will not be seeing caterpillars.  After emergence from the pupa, the adult moth takes flight.  Flying takes a tremendous amount of energy and the moth must feed in order to be able to continue flying.  Perhaps this individual is waiting to attract a mate before taking flight again to lay eggs on the appropriate host plant.  If there is a light on your balcony, this moth might have been attracted to the light.  We do not provide extermination advice.

Hi Daniel!
Thanks so much for getting back to me!
Funny thing is, we do have a light on the balcony, but we almost never turn it on, it’s a really faint light thats pretty useless to us, so we don’t bother with it. However there is a floodlight on the facade of the building right next to our flat, that is sometimes turned on, so that might be what attracted it to us.
The only plants we have out there are cactus, some desert plants and one hibiscus.
I guess I’m wondering how long it will stay on our balcony, and if we were to take it to the edge, would it be able to fly?
I am constantly nervous going out there, so I’m trying to figure out a cruel free way of removing it! 🙂

Our personal experience with moths in the family is that they may remain a few days, but eventually, when they are ready, they fly off.  It you don’t use the balcony, just let nature take its course.


What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Streak Sphinx in Puerto Rico
Location: Puerto Rico
January 31, 2017 3:11 pm
Just wanted to share a picture of a Streaked Sphinx moth hanging in our driveway here in the Eastern side of Puerto Rico
Signature: Raul

Streaked Sphinx

Hi Raul,
Thanks for sending in your image of a Streaked Sphinx,
Protambulyx strigilis.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Moth
Location: Wollongong NSW
January 29, 2017 9:17 pm
I took a few photos of this large moth today. It’s colour was mainly greys and olive drab. It was large and solid, motionless near ground level on the leaf in the photo. I would say from the top of the head to the bottom of the abdomen it would have been about 10cm with the wingspan being maybe 12cm. Is this an Australian Hawk Moth? I have seen photos identified that look similar to mine but there were orange colours underneath the wings and on the tip of the abdomen.
Signature: Philip Reuter

Australian Hawkmoth

Dear Philip,
It took us a bit of searching to identify your Australian Hawkmoth as
Coequosa australasiae.  Part of the reason it took so long is that the image posted to Butterfly House is quite different looking than your individual, and we eventually found a visual match on Csiro.  A very worn looking individual on A Roving I Will Go is the best color match to your individual.  The condition of your individual is so perfect we are guessing it has just emerged from the pupa and perhaps it has yet to take its first flight.  This species does have orange underwings that are hidden in your image. 

Dear Daniel,
Thankyou so much for confirming that! It was quite a magnificent specimen. Thankyou for your time.
Philip Reuter

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Cool Brown Moth
Location: Merritt Island and Melbourne, FL
January 29, 2017 1:41 pm
Hello Bugman, I live in Brevard County Florida. It’s winter time here in Florida do about 70 degrees. I’ve seen this moth in two different areas of the county in which I live. Two of the pictures were take outside of my apartment door in Merritt Island, FL. The moth was there for about three days before a storm came and he flew away. Two days later I saw the same type of moth on the ground outside of my work place in Melbourne, FL. I think he followed me to work hahaha!! I think he’s an Achemon Sphinx? Looks similar to those pictures. I would love to know for sure!! Thank you so much!
Signature: Elizabeth Merritt

Streaked Sphinx Moth: Protambulyx strigilis

Dear Elizabeth,
Like the Achemon Sphinx, your individual is a member of the family Sphingidae, but it is a Streaked Sphinx,
Protambulyx strigilis, a tropical species regularly found in Florida, that has been known to stray farther north as well.  According to The Sphingidae of the Americas:  “In Florida larvae have been found on Schinus terebinthefolia.”

Awesome!  Thank you so much! :))

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Identification Request
Location: Arusha, Tanzania
January 19, 2017 7:26 pm
Hi there,
Here are a few interesting ‘bugs’ I photographed while living in Tanzania between 2008 and 2011. Hoping you can help me (finally) identify exactly what they are 🙂
Many thanks
Signature: Tom Broughton

Oleander Hawkmoth

Dear Tom,
This is either an Oleander Hawkmoth or a closely related species in the same genus.  Our doubt regarding the specificity arises from the statement on the Sphingidae of Hawaii site (where it is an introduced species) that “The Oleander Hawk Moth,
Deilephila nerii or Daphnis nerii (Wing span: 90–110mm) is primarily associated with “the southern Mediterranean region, North Africa and the Middle East to Afghanistan (Ebert, 1969). Along the Mediterranean, there is no clear distinction between resident and migrant populations. Permanent populations exist in suitable locations in Sicily, Crete and Cyprus; however, over a number of favourable years further colonies may be established in those islands and also in southern Italy and southern Greece, all of which die out during a hard winter.  Extra-limital range. From Afghanistan eastward to south-east Asia and the Philippines; as a migrant, it penetrates northwards into central Europe and central southern Asia. In Africa it ocurs at least as far south as southern Cameroon.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination