Wednesday 1 June 2011

Encounter with a Lime Hawkmoth

Our street is lined with lime trees and occasionally, in mid August, we come across the wandering caterpillars of the Lime Hawkmoth, Mimas tiliae, as they leave the trees and get ready to bury themselves under the soil to pupate. I have very rarely come across the adult, but this morning my son found this fresh, magnificent male on his spade. The moth stayed put on some Herb Robert all day, waiting until I came back from work. Were not for the fact that we knew exactly where it was, its amazing camouflage, with a patchwork of dark green and pinkish shades and scalloped wing edges, would have made him pass unnoticed. This species has increased its range and is distributed through most of England. Adult lime hawkmoths fly in May and June and do not feed, their only purpose in life is to find a mate.
 I couldn't resist and had to take some shots on a whit(ish) background. On close up, the antenna and red front legs are very apparent.

Tonight, the male will probably fly in search of a female with the help of his feathery antennas.

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