WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY – LOPATCONG, NJ
This photo is of a Nessus Sphinx Moth, captured by Donna A. Fiore, in the rural town of Lopatcong, New Jersey. Camera gear used in this photo is a Nikon D200 with a 200mm lens. The blurring of the wings in this photo of a Nessus Sphinx moth is due to the speed this moth can move its wings in flight. It looks and acts like a hummingbird.
The Nessus Sphinx moth (Amphion floridensis) is a medium-size (3.7-5.5 cm. wingspan) large-bodied moth with dark chocolate brown wings. Forewing crossed by several rather indistinct and irregular darker bands, in particular a rather wide median band split near the upper end. The hindwing is crossed by a wide, dark rusty orange band. Fringes very broadly checkered black and white, giving them a scalloped appearance. The dark brown abdomen is crossed by one or two narrow pale yellow to white bands.
Adults of these insects fly during the day and at dusk. Caterpillars pupate in shallow underground chambers. Several broods in Florida and Louisiana from February-September, two broods in coastal South Carolina from March-May and July-September, and one brood in New Jersey and northward from April-July.
The Nessus Sphinx Moth gathers nectar from flowers including lilac (Syringa vulgaris), herbrobert (Geranium robertianum), beauty bush (Kolkwitzia amabilis), mock orange (Philadelphus coronarius), and Phlox.