June 06, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

With the Dame's Rocket flower heads in full glory, I'm almost obsessively watching the blossom show in the hope that I'll spot a variety of butterflies, the various Swallowtail species in particular. But I also have another target in mind, and that's a hummingbird-mimic known as the Nessus Sphinx Moth. The Nessus, which was named to "honor" a randy centaur of that name, is the first of the hummingbird-type moths to appear—the other two have clear wings—and some years it never appears at all. This year, praise be, Amphion floridensis—more Greek: Amphion was a son of Zeus—hovered into view this afternoon, its dark wings beating at up to 85 times per second. When it arrived, I was cameraless, and as I raced home to grab the Nikon and whatever lens happened to be attached, I had that sinking feeling associated with failure. Happily, the gods were with me, and the moth was still working the blooms when I returned and set up shop. The Nessus is truly unmistakable, with those two bright yellow bands on the back of its abdomen. It was also wonderfully cooperative.


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