Subject: Haitian Beetle / Mothlike
Location: Pignon, Haiti
October 21, 2012 1:24 pm
I had the great privilage to serve in Haiti last week and was greeted by the following insect. It is hard to describe, but it look like a moth or butterfly at first until it bit me and when I swatted it away it has a hard shell like a beetle. It is about the size of a credit card (maybe alittle smaller)
You are mistaken. This Gaudy Sphinx is not a beetle and your observations that it is mothlike were astute since it is a moth. The Gaudy Sphinx, Eumorpha labruscae, is found throughout Central America and many of the Caribbean Islands, and its range extends as far north as Texas and Florida. The Sphingidae of the Americas website notes: “although primarily a tropical species, it has been taken as far north as Saskatchewan and Manitoba” since it is such a strong flier. Moths have mouthparts that function like straws for sucking nectar and other fluids, and they are not capable of biting. The sensation you felt was most likely contact with the legs or other body parts when the Gaudy Sphinx collided with you.