Friday, June 5, 2009

Return of Vlad, The White Lined Sphinx Moth

We arrived home on Wednesday to find the newly emerged Vlad waiting to greet us:




Hooray! I was starting to get a little worried, because we'd just hit the three week mark. If you missed the story of Vlad the caterpillar, you can read about him here and here. We identified him as a white lined sphinx moth, also known as a hummingbird moth.




I'm glad I left some sticks in the jar, because we found him hanging on one. I believe like butterflies, they need to hang for a period in order for their wings to fill up properly.




Later we found him clinging to the net on top of his jar, so we took him out to the garden. Since he didn't look ready to fly off, I moved him to the lavender bush:




I've seen his relatives hovering around this bush and hoped he'd be happy there. He was a very cooperative subject, and even let me spread his wings just enough to see the pretty pink underneath. He must've gotten tired of posing, though, because shortly after that he took off!


The first time we saw these hummingbird moths flitting around the lavender bush, it was my son who correctly identified them. All that time spent with his nose in the bug books has it's rewards.

Hummingbird moths are fascinating to see in flight. I tried to embed a video I found, but for some reason it wasn't working...if you'd like to watch how they fly, you can view a video here.

16 comments:

Keri Mikulski said...

Wow! Fascinating and great pics. :) Thanks for sharing.

LW said...

I was so delighted to stop by today and see this magic.

Congratulations on a successful metamorphosis …

Louise

Just Jules said...

oh we did that last year with a butter flutter fly (as the kids called it) made me believe in such wonderful things again!

C.R. Evers said...

very cool! He's gorgeous!

Ara Burklund said...

Ooh! Beautiful! I'm glad he came out okay. : )

Bish Denham said...

YEA! A success story! Wonderful story, with a happy ending. My Vlad live long and prosper.

I've only seen these hummingbird months a couple of times. I think they are rare in my neck of the world, like luna months. When I first saw it I thought it was a very small hummingbird and was totally surprised to discover it was a month.

Kelly said...

I was thinking of Vlad this week, because my daughter had three caterpillars in a tupperware with holes on top (and the sticks and leaves) and left it outside. It rained and the poor things drowned (I know, my bad!) BUT there was a cocoon at the top, one survived (I hope at least). So the cocoon is in our butterfly netted cage now. We are waiting to see what will emerge!
Love your pictures!!! What a great project for the kids!

Keats The Sunshine Girl said...

Hurray! Vlad is ready to build a new life! All the care and attention paid off.

Rena said...

That is SO cool! You guys did well, Adrienne. Congrats and best wishes to Vlad and his new life!

adrienne said...

Thanks for the comments, everyone! I'm glad I had good news to report - it really is a fun thing to see up close.

Jules - Butter flutter fly...I like that name :)
It is a great reminder of wonderful things.

Bish - I thought the same thing! It looked like some strange tiny hummingbird, until you get close enough to see the antennae...I've also seen the moths at rest by the door, and didn't recognize them as the same moth flying in the yard.

Kelly - Sometimes nature can be rough! Good luck with your little survivor.

Angela said...

He's a beaut! Congratulations!

Anne Spollen said...

Your kids are lucky - this is a GREAT science lesson!

MG Higgins said...

He's beautiful! I don't think I've ever seen a moth like this. It's a great story.

Mary Witzl said...

I love sphinx moths and remember finding them having quiet rests in our garden when I was a kid. But I doubt I'd ever recognize one of their moths. Glad this one hatched okay!

adrienne said...

Anne - It taught me a lot, too!

MG - We only started noticing them here a couple of years ago. I was surprised to learn they're pretty common.

Mary - We had a hard time identifying him - the caterpillars change color dramatically before they pupate, look nothing like the adult moths, and the moths look like completely different creatures whether resting or flying! Hard to believe it's all the same bug.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Even cooler to find out what kind he was!