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Fragments from Floyd

Nature Post #5: Hawkwing Stealth Camo


Sorry, combining a blog post with a Facebook part of a series of nature shots I promised–one a day for a week, now with a gap while on the road. And lots of gaps in the task list (so yes I’m up before 4a.)

And while on the road just yesterday, I stopped at a service station for coffee off I-40 near Hampstead, NC yesterday at 445 a.m. for gas and coffee.

You have to realize that every time I get around bright lights in a warm place at night it reminds me of entomology class at Auburn back just after the last ice age.

Most of my collection of 100 pinned insects came from under the lights on campus at the tennis courts, stadium parking lot or out front of a girls’ dorm (didn’t matter which–a fella might pick up a date while he did his homework collecting beetles!)

So there on the concrete near the door to the Zippy Mart was this beautiful hawk moth (also known as sphinx moth.) After much experience, I am impervious to the disapproval or disgust of strangers when indulging in my biophilia. So I whipped out the camera and took this picture.

If you are not familiar with this group of moths, by all means call up google or bing images for “hawk moths.” These stout-bodied swept-winged light-seekers are one of my favorites, in there with their kin, the butterflies.

After getting the image up on the screen yesterday after I returned home, I was struck by two things: 1) the remarkable camouflage pattern that would make this creature disappear against the lichen-covered trunk of a shady tree; and 2) the apparent pattern “flying” the opposite direction of the moth of a hawk. I’ve outlined this in red.

Now I have no idea that this pattern that appears to my eye would have any deterrent effect on a would-be moth predator. But if I was a bird about to eat this moth and suddenly for a split second I thought I saw a bird predator in the picture, I’d hesitate.

Ya reckon?

2 thoughts on “Nature Post #5: Hawkwing Stealth Camo”

  1. I admire the camoflage very much. Your outline of a hawk? Not so much! My botanist preferences are showing, I guess.

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