Tag: white-lined sphinx moth

Bug of the Week: Moth Extravaganza

Bug of the Week has been re-booted by some recent rains here in Arizona. I’ve been getting notifications of insects that I haven’t seen for a long time. It’s so exciting!

Erinnyis ello caterpillar

Photograph by Peg Lynck, used with permission.

Take for instance this caterpillar a friend found on what she called a pencil cactus, Euphorbia sp.

Photograph by Peg Lynck, used with permission

Here are two more.

See those tiny, stubby horns at the back of the abdomen? That means they are members of the hornworm or sphinx moth family. A little research shows they are ello sphinx (Erinnyis ello) caterpillars.

Ello sphinx caterpillars vary quite a bit in color. Some are green, or a mix of green and brownish-gray.

Public domain image from Wikimedia

The adult moths are known for their lovely burnt orange underwings.

Here’s another moth that has been spotted a lot this summer.

Photograph by Peg Lynck, used with permission.

Given the memorable common name of black witch moth (Ascalapha odorata),the species is found in the southern United States through Central America and into South America. Flying at night, these relatively large moths can resemble bats. During the day they rest on the walls of houses.

The caterpillars feed on various legumes, including Acacia sp., Senna sp. and mesquites.

White-lined sphinx moths are also active now. They can be active during the day as well as at night.

It is wonderful to watch nature rebound after last year’s extreme heat and drought.

What moths are you seeing right now?

Bug of the Week: Flying Moths

Every morning when I stumble out to pick up the newspaper, I like to take a moment to look around at what is happening in the yard. Usually it is still peaceful. Only the birds are awake.

This morning something was zooming around the clumps of desert marigolds. It looked like a small hummingbird, and it flew fast and strong like a bird. Except it wasn’t.

Here’s one from an older slide I had scanned.

The white-lined sphinx moths have emerged!

White-lined sphinx moths are unusual for moths because they can be seen flying during the day, particularly in the early morning. Aren’t they beautiful?

Have you seen any insects this week?