ID this crazy butterfly

Or maybe it’s a moth. Or maybe neither. But whatever… have a look.

I saw this thing on a milkweed plant in North Reading, Massachusetts this afternoon. It’s really like nothing I’ve ever seen before. It’s clear that the wing shape and coloration is a kind of camouflage; from a distance, it looks like a pair of dead leaves. But the sharply upcurved abdomen and the steampunk antennae are features I’ve never seen before.

Unleash your inner lepidopterist and tell me what it is!

That’s a moth, isn’t it?

Poplar Hawk Moth

Probably a Walnut Sphinx Amorpha juglandis

Never mind…I didn’t follow down the page.

Doing a bit more research, the Small-eyed Sphinx Paonias myops seems to be a better match to the color pattern, especially the yellowish line on the thorax.

Can you get a photo of the open hind wings? That would help.

At any rate, it’s some kind of Sphinx Moth (Sphingidae).

That’s a pretty good match. I’m almost certain that’s what it is. Unfortunately, I can’t get a picture of the hind wings, because I’m now miles away.

Anyway, Colibri, thanks. Anything that flies, you’re on it!

(And no, Mangetout, I’m not going to send it to you so you can eat it. That’s right out.)

You’re welcome. Sphinx Moths, aka Hawk Moths, aka Hummingbird Moths are about my favorite moths. Quite a few of them, especially here in the tropics, have that weird posture when resting that makes them look like twisted up dead leaves.

Holy batterfly, Batman!

My parents in Maryland had one of those Hummingbird Moths buzzing around. Blew my mind as I had no idea such a thing existed.

Me too - although people usually look at me funny when I tell them I have a favourite moth.

Hummingbird hawkmoths are occasional visitors to my garden (next year, I plan to grow some extra salvia and verbena plants to try to specifically attract them). I just can’t get over how bird-like they really are.