Sphinx Moth in Flat Island Reserve, Leesburg FL

Hi What’s That Bug,

I found this fella the wall of the public restrooms at Flat Island Reserve in Leesburg FL. From the top point of the head to tip of the wing, insect was about 1″ long. Note the abdomen, sharply pointed up. 

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Hi Flat Island Reserve,

This is a Sphinx moth, also known as a hawkmoth. It looks to be Deidamia inscriptum, also known as the Lettered Sphinx moth.

The Lettered Sphinx moth can be found throughout the Eastern United States, and it enjoys sipping on the nectar of lilac and Phlox.

These are a beautiful moth that emerges in the early spring, even when the temperature is still cold. The males display this curled abdomen behavior, but researchers aren’t 100% sure why they do this. Females sometimes do this to spray pheromones out to call in mating males, but we know that only the males of this species do this. Perhaps it’s some camouflage technic they use to confuse predators.

Females will lay their eggs on appropriate host plants, like wild grape, peppervine and Virginia creeper. The caterpillar will only survive on these types of plants and no other. The caterpillars look very similar to other Sphinx moths. They are green with a single horn on their backside.

After the caterpillars molt from their 4th instar, they will pupate in the soil and stay there during winter and then emerge the following spring, starting the cycle all over again.

It gets its name Deidamia from the Greek myth of the mother of Achilles and inscriptum means to be “written on” or “lettered”.

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