Tuesday, December 4, 2012

White-lined Sphinx Moth

Yesterday I noticed something protruding from our garage light. Closer examination proved it to be a mummified White-lined Sphinx Moth. Extracting it from the light fixture damaged the thorax, but the moth was, nevertheless, beautiful.

This insect, often called a hummingbird moth, does not overwinter in Minnesota, but migrates, after massive population buildups, north in the summer. They feed in the evening, dawn, and at night (Restoring the Landscape.com). They feed on a variety of plants and are not specialists, although they are fond of Evening Primrose. The species is found across the United States and adjacent Canada south through Central America. They usually do not harm garden plants, but, in periods of overpopulation, these moths’ caterpillars have damaged crops like tomatoes and grapes (Butterflies and Moths.org). I have previously found these caterpillars in Northfield and have posted about them. Finally, these moths are attracted to artificial lights, like that in my garage.

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