I grew a hummingbird moth…

Posted by & filed under gardening.

…and I suspect my cats ate it. But it doesn’t make it any less remarkable to me.

This summer I came back to Brooklyn from a week in the Catskills and found a weird little poop like mass in my travel bag. At first I was startled by it and thought an animal had left a happy little surprise in my bag, but it started wiggling around slightly, jolting me to my senses. It was some sort of insect in a pupal stage.


Not knowing what to do with it and not wanting to kill it, i buried it in the soil of one of my house plants and forgot about it.

Several months later (last night) I hear a rustling in the dried leaves that I use to mulch the soil of my plants. I looked closer and saw this:


It’s a newly emerged Whited-line Sphinx Moth …a type of Hummingbird moth, known for it’s ability to hover while it feeds from flowers. It’s also the adult form of a hornworm, which many gardeners detest due to their voracious apetite and ability to do some real damage to solanaceous crops like tomatoes and eggplant and tobacco.

Being as it’s still winter and this critter would no doubt freeze to death, I just let it rest on a hanging plant and hoped my cats would take no notice of it. If it was still there in the am, I’d feed it some nectar and try to drop it of at the American Museum of Natural History where I have a friend that works in the Entomology department. That would have been the best I could do.

There’s still a chance that the moth is hiding out somewhere in my apartment I’ll be glad to see it, but I feel really fortunate that I was able to witness part of the lifecycle of such a beautiful creature in any case.

Insects are just so damned remarkable! Check out this video of a White-lined Sphinx in action!


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