Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Sphinx kalmiae - Laurel Sphinx

This stunning Sphinx kalmiae was waiting to be photographed on the wall outside my door this morning.

I used the tip of my finger to gently move the forewing in order to expose the striped hindwing.  The wingspan of this beauty can exceed 4 inches!

The larval stage of this moth feeds on laurel (Kalmia latifolia), giving the moth its common name.  Other food species for the larvae include ash and poplar trees, fringe tree (Chionanthus virginicus), privet, and mountain holly.  The adult moth drinks nectar from bouncing bet (Saponaria officinalis) and Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica).  

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