Friday, May 20, 2011

Pachysphinx modesta Sphinx moth

Last night a very large sphinx moth came to my porch light. It was on the screen door and when I tried to take a photo its first reaction was to drop to the ground  and there it stayed. After taking the photos I came in and identified it as a Modest Sphinx (Pachysphinx modesta).

Pachysphinx modesta
I tried to encourage it to crawl onto my finger like the large silk moths do but it would have none of that and just began to flutter endlessly. Not wanting to stress it more I came back inside and turned the lights out and it flew away probably to mate. It was very fat and the largest sphinx moth I have seen, this one had a wing span of about 4.5 inches.
A couple nights ago I found this tiny (4 – 8 mm) spider on the leaves of a Sassafras tree. Its little white abdomen really stood out. From “Spiders of the Eastern United States” by W. Mike Howell and Ronald L. Jenkins I learned that it is a Arniella displicata from the family Areneidae. The common name Sixspotted Orbweaver comes from the three pairs of small black spots on the top of the abdomen. They said they found them in the month of May and well, I guess that holds true for me as well. It had started making a rolled up leaf to lay its egg case and was not on a sycamore as the authors suggested.

Arniella displicata

She was a brave little soul and did not drop down or run away as I took her photo.

Arniella displicata

3 comments:

Woodswalker said...

Amazing and beautiful critters! You sure got a great shot of that tiny spider, especially.

squirrel said...

Thanks, I'm finally getting back into blogging. I've been reading your wonderful blog.

JR said...

What a Beautiful colored Modest Sphinx!!!I also recently found a Tobacco Sphinx moth,Manduca sexta on my stoop(not alive)and now in my collection.