Posts Tagged ‘White-lined Sphinx Moth’

What’s this Moth Doing in My Potatoes?

Sunday, October 3rd, 2010

This big guy showed up while I was down on my hands and knees digging potatoes.  It landed right in front of me and didn’t try to fly away when I picked it up.  It is a really pretty moth.  Almost the whole underwing is pink, and the moth shows off the bright color when its wings are open.  All the pictures I shot with the wings open are blurred because of the moth’s wingbeats, but I posted one anyway, just to show what it looks  like.

I thought it was a hummingbird moth, but until I did a search I did not know for sure.  It’s a White-lined Sphinx Moth – Hyles lineata. It’s common to Wisconsin and not usually a pest.   It’s called a hummingbird moth because it is very big and noisy when it flies and it sucks nectar from flowers with a long proboscis, kind of like a hummingbird.  I thought this one was injured because it didn’t seem to be able to fly, but when I set it on the sidewalk to try to get some more pictures, it revved up to take-off speed and cruised away.

After the moth adventure, I went back to digging potatoes and unearthed the balance of my reds and purples that I had started to harvest a few days ago.  I only planted one bed of spuds this year.  I usually do two.  I still got a nice mix of over 30 pounds of the Red Durango and Purple Adirondack potatoes and I still have about a third of a bed left to dig, which will be mostly Rose Finn Fingerlings.