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Author Topic: Strange bug  (Read 1958 times)

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Offline DanG

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Strange bug
« on: May 29, 2004, 09:54:49 PM »
My Dad and I saw an unusual creature today, as we were out admiring the Nile lillies in his back yard. At first we thought it was a hummingbird, but it would have been a very small one. Its flight was very similar to one, though, and the proportions were right. It had a proboscis, of sorts, that sorta looked like a hummingbird's beak, too. It didn't seem shy about our presence, so we were able to get a fairly close look, considering how quickly it darted from one blossom to the next. It would hover for a short second before entering a flower, so I got a couple of glimpses of the head. Besides the long proboscis, it had antennae, and the head area was broad and elongated, reminding me somewhat of a mouse's head. It was even brownish-grey. We got several good looks at the tail area, as it hung out from the flowers for several seconds at each stop. It had a short, broad, fan-shaped tail, about the same shape as a lobster's tail. The tail, and most of the rear portion of the beast was black, but it had 2 very distinct and very bright yellow stripes across the "rump."  While I ran to get the camera, Dad got a good look at the wings as they folded to enter a flower. They were long and tapered, in about the proportion of a hummingbird's wings, and were gossamer-like, much like a kadydid's.  About the time I got back with the camera, the thing took it's leave, so we didn't get a picture. :-/  You can bet my Dad will spend some time on his porch tomorrow, watching, with his camera in his hand. :)

Anybody got any idea what it might have been? My Dad and I have 143 years of combined experience, and neither of us have ever seen anything that looked like that.
"I don't feel like an old man.  I feel like a young man who has something wrong with him."  Dick Cavett
"Beat not thy sword into a plowshare, rather beat the sword of thine enemy into a plowshare."

Offline etat

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Re: Strange bug
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2004, 10:26:59 PM »
my best guess though I don't think i've ever seen one.  Hummingbird Moth.
http://www.bbg.org/gar2/topics/wildlife/handbooks/hummingbirds/4_1.jpg

http://flzhgn.home.mindspring.com/humoth.htm

http://people.freenet.de/jfeldhusen/Hummingbird_Hawk_Moth.htm

http://images.google.com/images?q=Hummingbird+Moth&ie=UTF-8&hl=en&btnG=Google+Search


Taxonomists have struggled with this group, since the different species vary in appearance at different locations in their vast ranges, and even different broods in the same location may look somewhat different. It is now generally agreed, however, that there are four species of hummingbird moths in North America. Range can help to sort them out, but several species overlap and at first glance they look similar. All species have clear parts in their wings and the males have a dramatic anal tuft, often in varied colors. In northern climates, hummingbird moths appear in midsummer, while those in southern climates often have two broods, the first in midspring, the second in midsummer into late fall.
Old Age and Treachery will outperform Youth and Inexperence. The thing is, getting older is starting to be painful.

Offline Norm

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Re: Strange bug
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2004, 01:31:21 AM »
My guess is ck got it Dan, we get them at our place in the summer feeding on the same flowers as the hummingbirds. They are about the same size and move much as the birds do. Fun to watch as they are such a big moth.

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Strange bug
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2004, 03:33:58 PM »
Dang:

Sounds like the giant Sphinx moth, native to Florida as part of the sub tropics to the tropics of Central America

Link here

Bald Cypress Sphinx

Here's a perdy white-lined sphinx

This one has a 9 inch proboscis
Move'n on.

Offline DanG

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Re: Strange bug
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2004, 09:02:57 PM »
CK, I think you got it! 8)  I never heard of such a thing. I'm sure I probably seen one before, but just thought it was a hummingbird. This one just happened to get right in our face. I was thinking it might be some kind of moth, but the Ol' Man throwed me off with that bit about the clear  wings. I can overlook that, though, 'cause he won't even be 85 till Wednesday, and his eyesight ain't fully developed yet. ::) :D :D
"I don't feel like an old man.  I feel like a young man who has something wrong with him."  Dick Cavett
"Beat not thy sword into a plowshare, rather beat the sword of thine enemy into a plowshare."

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Strange bug
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2004, 02:49:42 AM »
Some of them hummingbird Sphinx moths even have eye spots on their wings to keep an eye on the on-lookers. ;)
Move'n on.

Offline Rocky_J

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Re: Strange bug
« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2004, 04:54:42 PM »
SwampDonkey's links didn't work for me until I modified the URL address. Just erase the '%20url' from the end of the address and then it will work.
:)

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Strange bug
« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2004, 05:09:03 PM »
Thanks Rocky, fixed it. ;)
Move'n on.

Offline DanG

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Re: Strange bug
« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2004, 08:46:42 PM »
Well, we've nailed it down! 8)  Me ol' Pappy found it in a book, and I looked it up on Google, for verification.  It was a Nessus Sphinx Moth.

http://www.origins.tv/entomology/moths/300/7873/7873.htm

Thanks for all the responses. :)
"I don't feel like an old man.  I feel like a young man who has something wrong with him."  Dick Cavett
"Beat not thy sword into a plowshare, rather beat the sword of thine enemy into a plowshare."

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Strange bug
« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2004, 03:38:59 AM »
Ah, now I see the lobster like tail. I was trying to id the thing by the yellow bands and proboscis. And look, its named in latin for Florida. ;)

That there is a huge family of moths, way more than the Patterson Field Guide will ID for ya ;)
Move'n on.


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