?

Log in

No account? Create an account
Beautiful Moth - MoonScape [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
e_moon60

[ website | My Website ]
[ userinfo | livejournal userinfo ]
[ archive | journal archive ]

Beautiful Moth [Aug. 19th, 2011|08:55 pm]
e_moon60
[Tags|, , ]
[Current Mood |excited]

Late this evening, after sundown,  we found this beautiful moth on the ground near one of the big water tanks.






It's a Vine Sphinx, Eumorpha vitisand I'm guessing it was a caterpillar on one of the vines near the house, still alive because we can water there.   Elsewhere vines are dead from the drought.   I did not want to handle it, as that always risks some damage to the moth's wing-scales and I don't know if it was freshly emerged from a chrysalis or an older moth near death.  It's very hot tonight.   We don't have anything blooming but firecracker bush and one turks-cap (the others, that we can't water, have died.)   I hope it makes it to reproduction, if it hasn't done that already.  It is a new species for our list.
LinkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: fluidsparkles
2011-08-20 02:03 am (UTC)
Stunning!
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2011-08-20 03:49 am (UTC)
Thanks. I was stunned, myself, when I saw it.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: cailleuch
2011-08-20 02:35 am (UTC)

Absolutely beautiful.

(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2011-08-20 03:51 am (UTC)
Thanks! I'm used to seeing the White-lined Sphinx here, but this is the first Vine Sphinx I've ever seen. I wish we had more for it to nectar on, but with the drought we're in Stage 3 water restriction, so there's not much I can do.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: cailleuch
2011-08-20 04:14 am (UTC)

The White-lined Sphinx is common here but I am way to far north for the Vine Sphinx. Sigh.

(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2011-08-20 03:35 am (UTC)
I tried repeatedly to edit this post to add information about this moth as given at http://bugguide.net/, which is how I identified the moth, but the edit additions did not "stick." Haven't had this problem before, so not sure what's going on. Anyway, for more info and more images, check out:

images: http://bugguide.net/node/view/55225/bgimage
or
info: http://bugguide.net/node/view/55225



(Reply) (Thread)
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2011-08-20 06:18 pm (UTC)
We're used to dry Augusts...that's not the problem...the problem is the preceding months and months of dry. In the old days (up to about 2000) May was our wettest month, and we usually had at least one good rain in June or July, sometimes both. So we came into August with deep soil water. Not this year.

Thanks for your comments about IDing things. I feel it's important for me to know what things are (and boy have I learned a lot since I got 80 acres and a digital camera!!! The ability to photograph things for later study has helped a lot, since I can't reasonably carry two shelves of books along every time I go for a walk!) And I thought others might enjoy learning, too.

When we started this project, I knew quite a few birds, mammals, and reptiles (though not all), but only maybe a dozen insects. Like everyone else, I knew a few butterflies (monarch, tiger swallowtail) and a few moths (luna moth, white-lined sphinx) and that the local paper wasps were small, black-and-yellow, but the local "mud daubers" were blue-black. But the rest of the insect world was very very general: "beetle," "true bug," "ant," "grasshopper," "dragonfly," "what-the-heck is THAT??" And I'd had invertebrate zoology (many years ago) but at that time insects didn't interest me. Finding BugGuide.net was a HUGE influence and resource. I already knew a fair number of native forbs, trees, and shrubs (thanks to a native plants course, also a long way back, but followed up on) but was weak on grasses.

I just like being able to walk out and sort of greet things, recognize them. I still have SO much to learn, which means I'll never ever be bored...like finding this new species of moth. With climate change, new things are moving into the area, too (some of which I grew up with, 400 miles south of here, and don't want, and others I'd love to see again. But you can't pick and choose...though if huisache, _Acacia farnesiana_, shows up on this place, I'm diggin' it out. It's not my favorite south Texas brushcountry native, despite its virtues.)
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: kk1raven
2011-08-20 09:02 pm (UTC)
Thank you for continuing to share your critters. What you see is often very different from what lives around me.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2011-08-21 02:36 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you enjoy the pictures. It's been so hot and so dry, and I've been so involved with my husband's health problems that I haven't been out photographing as much as I "should." When I get more photos up (it will probably be on the 80acresonline blog, as it's so much easier to upload images there) I'll post a notice here and on Twitter.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
From: amy34
2011-08-21 05:12 am (UTC)
I was just in Bryce Canyon National Park, in Utah, and in one of the ranger presentations, they showed a slide of exactly this moth (as one of the resident park species).
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2011-08-21 02:34 pm (UTC)
Now THAT is a coincidence!
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: gifted
2011-08-21 08:11 am (UTC)
Truly lovely.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2011-08-21 03:03 pm (UTC)
Thanks.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: tuftears
2011-08-21 10:19 pm (UTC)
That thing's gorgeous! It looks like modern found art, like someone made a moth from found materials woven together.

...

Well, it sort of is, but you know what I mean!
(Reply) (Thread)