Tue, Feb 10, 2009 at 8:41 PM
10/07/06 – Phoenix, Arizona – Just past sunset – I spotted this “butterfly / hummingbird”. I remember it quite large, about the size of my fist, maybe slightly smaller (although the pictures don’t justify that) and it’s wings were moving as fast as a hummingbird. It reminded me of a humming bird in every flying sense however, it had the face of a butterfly with large antennae and beautiful (thin) wings. It let me take numerous pictures before disappearing. In many of the pictures you can see it’s long straw -like tongue.
Dear Still Amazed,
This is a White Lined Sphinx or Striped Morning Sphinx, Hyles lineata, one of the Hawk Moths. It is probably the most common Hawk Moth in North America and is found in all 48 lower states. It is a common desert species and after a rainy year, thousands of caterpillars appear. Those years, the adult moths are also quite plentiful. The caterpillar feeds on many plants, but fuschia is a favorite. The adult moths are often attracted to lights where they are found resting the following day. Moths take nectar from many flowers, including the lantana in your photo, and honeysuckle. Your action photos are spectacular.