Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Moth From My Christmas Tree.

Over the holidays, as Bear and I sat in the living room, my Christmas tree began making a strange buzzing sound ... a sound like wings rapidly beating against Fraser Fir needles.

Bear cocked his head and listened in that cutely puzzled way that dogs do.
I did the same.

And then suddenly, this brown alien flew out of the tree and onto the fake evergreen border atop the cypress mantle.

I believe this is a Sphinx moth of some kind and I am convinced that he was in a cocoon inside my Christmas tree.

The warmth of the room probably caused a rapid metamorphosis and the moth matured in the dead of winter rather than later in the spring.

I took the moth outside on a fairly mild Florida winter day and released him onto the dead oak leaves of a laurel oak which I had cut down a few months before.

Can you see him?

Ignore the video title below. I wrote down the first thing  that came to mind when I saw him and did not correct it before uploading.



Pablo said...

At the end of Walden, Thoreau writes of a bug that emerged from someone's wooden table after a hot coffee pot was left on it for a while. The table had been in the family for 60 years or such and the insect had lay there in a dormant state for all that time until the heat of the pot caused it to come forth.

I'm not sure I believe that fully. Was it just a tale someone was repeating without evidence? Was the insect egg somehow laid in the wood in more recent time? but part of me wants to believe.

edifice rex said...

I had wasps hatch out of some cracks when I first started heating the house when it was dried in. Not nearly as pleasant an experience. Interesting moth; I've never seen that type before.

Mark P said...

I hope the moth has a better prognosis that the praying mantis nymphs that emerged from a fern we brought in for the winter.

robin andrea said...

Very cool looking moth. I hope the rest of winter is kind to it. Love the camouflage.

Sandcastle Momma said...

Nature's cammo always amazes me! He's beautiful and what an interesting Christmas gift lol

cuz tina said...

Awesome bug! wouldn't he be great morphed into a SYFY movie. Large and in charge.

Floridacracker said...

I'm hoping it wasn't a juvenile Moth Man.

Pablo, I think there are some sawyer beetles that have really long grub stages, but Doug the bug guy would be the one to answer that ... maybe he will chime in.

Those wasps ... hard to feel all warm and fuzzy about most of them.
Especially those permanently angry red ones.

I wonder how many species get introduced to new regions via Christmas tree sales.

It's cold here now so he probably wishes he was back in the coccoon.

I wish I had some camo that good!

Julie Zickefoose said...

Doggoneit, it looks like a sphinx, but my fabulous Beadle and Leckie Peterson Field Guide to Moths of Northeastern N. America doesn't treat Florida and I can't find it. Bugguide.net is a good site. If I find it I'll let you know what it is. Hummingbird moth isn't that far off...

cowango said...

Looks like a mournful sphinx,but it could also be Enyo ocypete. I'm no expert but they look very similar. you can find each respectively
My bet is on the first possibility.

cowango said...

One more link with lots of info on thmournful sphinx. You might have reared this guy on your pepper vine.