Moths in Iraq
Sat, Mar 14, 2009 at 12:24 AM
Hi there. These moths seems to come out at night especially when it rains. I am in north Iraq at the moment on an oil drilling rig. These moths are all over in the mornings but seem to dissappear as it get warmer. Would you know what they are and anything about them?
Chamchamal, Kurdistan – Iraq
Thanks for sending your amazing photographs. We were struck by the similarity of your moth to the Striped Morning Sphinx or Whitelined Sphinx, Hyles lineata, found throughout much of North and South America. We checked Bill Oehlke’s wonderful website and he writes: “A somewhat similar moth, Hyles livornica occurs in Eurasia and Africa.”
We then located a website that pictures and describes the Striped Hawkmoth, your species. The site indicates: “A noted migrant, generally found in open ground with few trees and shrubs, such as rough grazing land, parched hillsides and sand-dunes, or in vineyards. In semi-desert areas, huge numbers can build up during winter and spring, especially after heavy rains. An extremely active species, normally flying towards evening, when considerable numbers are often attracted to sweet-smelling flowers and to light. Pairing always takes place at dawn over a period of two or three hours. Thereafter, females can cover considerable distances whilst egg-laying. In southern Europe and North Africa, many are also active during daylight hours, especially when on migration. (See also Heinig (1981b).) ” We suspect the lights of the oil rig are attracting the great numbers of moths.