Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Stunning mystery moth and mystery solved

The images above and below, printed here courtesy of
were photographed yesterday in the Shakespeare Garden. They reveal another clearwing moth, captured while sipping nectar -- yes, that's his proboscis you see below the antennae.

But what is its species? I've spent more hours than I'm willing to admit looking through photographs on two major moth websites: The Moth Photographer's Group and BugGuide.

I haven't come up with an answer. My first thought was that it is a Maple Callus Borer Moth - Synanthedon acerni. But it doesn't look quite right.Now I've written an SOS to my favorite moth expert, Hugh McGuinness. I'll let you know what he says. [McGuinness is the hero of a chapter of Central Park in the Dark called "Miss Jones, you're beautiful"]

In the meanwhile, you can try to solve the mystery yourself by clicking on the links below. They will take you to the clearwing family -- Sessiidae--on each site.

Hugh McGuinness quickly answered:
Hi Marie,

It's Hemaris thysbe, a Sphinx Moth.