Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Inscrutable Sphinx

Hannah came in this morning with a nice moth photo for us:

We feel this is a Small-eyed Sphinx (Paonias myops), which is a fairly common moth. According to the field guides, this moth prefers cherry trees, which we have in abundance. It will also eat birches, hawthorns, poplars, other members of the Prunus genus, and willows, all of which are also a dime a dozen in these parts. These are, of course, host plants for the larvae, for the adults have no mouths. Like many lepidopterans, they live just a few days and exist for one purpose only: mating. The female attracts the male using airborne pheremones. Eggs are laid on the host plant(s), where they hatch and the larvae feed. When it comes time to pupate, they head underground.

So head outside and keep your eyes peeled. From now until the snow flies (hopefully not again until fall), things will be happenin', and you just never know what you will encounter if you look!

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