Pink Spotted Hawkmoth

Pink Spotted Hawk Moth?
Dear Bugman:
While photographing my night-blooming cactus (in Lakeland, Florida) about 3 AM the other night, this moth showed up hovering like a hummingbird (and about as large). It went from flower to flower feeding on the blooms for several minutes before zooming off. I’ve seen a lot of these moths at rest or dead in the past, but this is the first time I’ve seen one in flight. (It’s also the first time I’ve ever seen what pollinates these cacti.) The white petals span a diameter of over 4-inches (not including the green/reddish sepals). I am amazed at the wingspan of this moth. Of all the pictures I’ve seen on your website and elsewhere, it looks most like a Pink Spotted Hawk Moth. Is that what this is? Thanks.
Steven Spake
Lakeland, FL

Hi Steven,
You are correct. We should also note that they eye of the moth is reflecting the light from your flash and does not glow of its own accord. You might be interested in knowing that when Darwin found out about a cactus in Madagascar with a ten inch long throat, he theorized that a Sphinx Moth or Hawkmoth must have an equally long proboscis to pollinate the flower. The moth was later discovered.

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