These moths are amazing. Very large in the body, they can easily be mistaken, at first glance, for hummingbirds.
Although the caterpillars can be destructive they are not usually found in quantity, and a little interim damage is worth it for the end result!
The larvae feed on a variety of plants. There are a large number of different Sphinx Moths with similar caterpillars, or hornworms, this one is NOT the Tomato Hornworm.
Beautiful Moth, only have seen about 5 total in the 1 1/2 years I've lived in the area, spectacular flying capabilities when compared to the humming bird, very hard to tell the differance.
Have yet to see the catapillar or experience any damage from either the moth or the pillar
On Mar 30, 2008, lostintexas from Abilene, TX (Zone 7b) wrote:
I was out watering my still dormant lantana plant in the front yard and saw something fluttering in the leaves. It was a large moth. I was so excited as I have never even come close to a sphinx moth, luna moth or hummingbird moth. I tried several times to let it crawl on my finger to get it out of the wet leaves. It finally climbed on my finger and onto my hand. It was the so beautiful. The pink on its back was just so amazing. I yelled at family members to come see. I told them I thought it was a sphinx moth then changed my mind and said it was a hummingbird moth. Come to find out they are the same thing according to Google. Anyways, my sister put it on her hand so I could get my camera but all pictures came out blurry. He was really flapping his wings so I was happy that I had not damaged him. He let us admire him for about 5 minutes, I could see his little eyes looking at me. Then he flew off to who knows where (I hope my backyard). This was an amazing experience for me and I am thrilled to have finally seen one of these up close. The only plants growing up there where he was were roses, tomato plants, marigolds, and rosemary. I cannot imagine where he came from but I am so glad he came. I have read they can destroy crops and such and if that little guy wants to eat my tomato plant he can have it just to keep him around. So beautiful. Also in looking up their range Abilene is not in his range so again I don't know what he was doing here but thrilled that he was here.
On Apr 4, 2008, dzeeryp from Traverse City, MI wrote:
These guys love my butterfly bushes. They visit almost at dusk EST. They are truly amazing to watch. I never see more than 1-2 a year. I live in Michigan, so it's pretty far north compared to the rest of the reports. Never saw one until about 3 years ago. Lived in the same place for 12. My guess is our warmer climate has allowed them to survive. This year might have done them in with the -20 temperatures we had. It's not been that cold here in well over 12 years.
On Aug 25, 2009, onalee from Brooksville, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:
These are the MOST AMAZING moths - I look forward to seeing these (as well as other hawk moths) every evening during the summer as they buzz happily around my four o'clocks. If the caterpillars are eating your plants - just plant more - that's what I do!
The caterpillars of this species eat:
Willow weed (Epilobium)
Four o'clock (Mirabilis jalapa)
Evening primrose (Oenothera)