Nature: Butterflies and Moths

Cerese Moth / Sphinx Cerisyi (Sphingidae, Sphinx Moth Family)

Wherever streams come down out of mountains, wherever the willows grow, but particularly in the western parts of North America, the Cerise Sphinx wings its way in the dusk of evening or early morning to the flowers of the evening primrose and other flowers with deep throats. It uncurls its long, long tongue, longer by far than that of a bee or wasp or even a butterfly, and finds precious nectar in the heart of the deepest flower. Sometimes it visits gardens in a city, and then you may see it shoot around the corner of the building, fast as a hummingbird, hover above a flower with buzzing wings and dip down with its tongue for the delightful sweets.

The blue eye in a dark blue ring in the pink suffusion of the hind wing is no doubt of use to the moth in frightening birds, particularly young and inexperienced birds who would jump back in fright, thinking that here is a snake! yet even the wise old birds, who are not frightened by this false monster, would find it hard to catch the Cerese Sphinx, so swift and quick is its flight. When the brown wings are folded over the hind wings and the bright colors disappear the moth may alight on some brown bark and seem to completely disappear!

The mother moth seeks for willows on which to lay her eggs, and the caterpillars feed on the leaves of these trees wherever they grow.


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