Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Notta's Hummingbird

Okay, it is not a hummingbird. Yet, many people, when they first see this creature, are startled and in wonder. Many ask, “What kind of hummingbird is this?” It isn’t. In fact it is a fairly large moth. This is the White Lined Sphinx. Some refer to it as the Striped Morning Sphinx. I prefer the former. You see, the Sphinx and the hummingbird will feed on many of the same plants. They are both nectar feeders. Yet, one is more likely to see the Sphinx in the evening and the hummingbird in the morning (which explains my preference in names).

In the caterpillar stage, the Sphinx is known as the Hornworm. In this stage it is not much liked because gardeners find it threatening to their tomatoes, peppers and grapes. However, the moth is beneficial as a pollinator of evening primrose, jimsom weed, clover, orchids, petunias, and columbine. This Sphinx was photographed on our columbine, in point of fact.



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