Mar 24, 2013

What the heck is it?

So this morning I put my face against the window to look outside. I’m always curious to see what happened overnight, like did the raccoons neatly turn over pieces of the lawn again, did the deer eat my flowers, or is there anything dead floating in the pool. I didn’t see much because directly in front of my eyeball was this humungous, hairy, wierd, I don’t know what. I tapped on the screen but he didn’t move. I thought he was dead. I still don’t know if he’s alive. He let me put a tape measure right next to him for this photo and still didn’t move, although I think he eyeballed me once. “Take your stupid picture and go away!”  As moths go I’ve never seen one this big – almost two inches! Moths? Maybe it’s a bird, or a flying gopher or something. I don’t know. That was hours ago and I checked and he’s still there. Dead? Playing dead? Waiting until I open the window so he can terrorize me in the house? He’s huge! I feel like if I tried to hit him with a fly swatter, he’s grab it and throw it back. What the heck is it???

UPDATE: Emmie’s right, it’s a White Lined Sphinx Moth and an ugly one at that. Here’s the even uglier caterpillar it comes from…

Hey, wait a minute! Isn’t that the bug that ate all my tomatoes??? (I hope this one makes it across the street before the bus runs him over!)

So here’s what we know: They are also known as Hummingbird Moths. Their wing span can range from 2 to 8 inches. They pollinate flowers such as orchids, petunias and evening primroses while sucking their nectar with a proboscis (feeding tube) that exceeds 10 inches in some species. They like garden crops, especially apples and tomatoes (no kidding!).  Larvae burrow into soil to go into chrysallis, where they remain for 2–3 weeks. They change into adult moths underground and then dig their way to the surface. I know I’m going to have bad dreams tonight!

Filed Under: My Backyard

5 Comments on “What the heck is it?”

  1. Rhonda says:

    I like the moth’s colors and detailed wings, but the caterpillar is a bit ugly and looks like an alien critter. Something you might find in outer space. The caterpillar gives me the creeps more than the moth or even the spider. And Jenny I can see why you look out your window curious what might be out there. You might have a football game out there with all those animals and critters you have roaming around your place. You might even have the rabbit and squirrel in the pool doing the backstroke and enjoying themselves…lol…

  2. sue says:

    I’m gonna have bad dreams tonight too!! And on top of that, I feel like I’m back in Science class where the bugs were all around us!!! 😉 But, I actually think that this moth is pretty neat looking. Not so much that I want him crawling on me or even on my window screen. But seeing him in California and me being in Pennsylvania… he’s pretty neat looking!! 🙂

    Btw, JJ I don’t know about your new website!!! Man, every time we visit we get sooooo hungry!!!


  3. Emmie McMAhn says:

    White Lined sphinx Moth and it comes from an even uglier green hornworm caterpillar LOL

    • Jenny says:

      Thanks for the i.d.
      I looked it up and have added more info and photos above…
      (you’re right about that homely caterpillar!)

  4. Becky says:

    Jenny, those things are huge &disgusting!! I think they are called Giant Grey Moths.

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