09 June 2012

Hawkmoth Haven

If you follow this blog at all, you know I'm a sucker for hawkmoths. Don't know what it is, but I just love these animals. The larvae are fascinating and the adults and beautiful.

This week, I've discovered three species of hawkmoth larvae munching on our plants, one of them is new to me.

There's the snowberry clearwing or bumblebee moth, Hemaris diffinis, which loves the coral honeysuckle vine. I've spied several on the vine this year, and many in the past as well.

And the tomatillo plant is not immune to ways of the tobacco hornworm, Manduca sexta. This fat sucker is manging away on the tomatillo. Not surprising, since it's in the nightshade family. This is also not the first Manduca sexta at the Grackle. Look at the way it rears up like a sphinx.

But this next one is a new species record for the yard! This is the larvae of the Plebian sphinx, Paratrea plebeja.

I've been trying to get rid of some trumpet creeper, Campsis radicans, that grows along the back wall of the garage since we moved here 6 years ago. I pull it up, but it always comes back. This year, I decided that the trumpet creeper won, and I'd just enjoy it. But when I went out this morning, I discovered that it was completely denuded! I knew it must've been caterpillars but it took me a while to find these tiny guys and gals. They are only about 1-2 inches long. I counted about 4 or 5 of them.

I was also able to snap a couple of photos of a white-lined sphinx moth adult nectaring on the Mexican oregano.

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