IMAGES OF SMALL THINGS FROM THE BIGGEST COUNTY IN TEXAS #556 – White-lined Sphinx Hummingbird Moths

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There was a bevy of moths and butterflies around the yard yesterday. We had three of these hummingbird moths show up to feed on our lantana. They are a real challenge to photograph, as they are fast and they never hover in one place for too long.

I spent a peaceful two -three hours (how long is that in sphinx moth years?) capturing and watching them dart in fluid motion that certainly rivals the movement of hummingbirds. Hummingbirds at least perch for a breather every now and then. These guys appear to be in perpetual motion and you gotta love the pink and brown coloring –  two of my wife Susan’s favorite color combos.

“Sphinx Moth larvae change underground into adult moths, who then dig their way to the surface. Mating occurs shortly thereafter, with females laying as many as 1,000 eggs on the underside of food plants. Eggs hatch within a few days. In the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts, there may be 2 broods, one in the Spring and another in the Summer. In the colder Great Basin Desert, only one brood is produced. Males and females die after they have completed their roles in the reproductive process.

Sphinx Moths emerge at dusk from their hiding places and begin feeding on the nectar of flowers. Their size, combined with their rapid wing beats, allows them to hover and feed in the manner of hummingbirds, for which they are sometimes mistaken.

This manner of flight requires a great deal of energy and creates a good deal of heat in the moth’s body. For these reasons, moths feed exclusively on nectar and seek flowers which produce large amounts of this water source which also contain high amounts of sugar. Such is the case with the Evening Primrose (Onagraceae) Family, and particularly the Dune Evening Primrose, which the White-lined Sphinx Moth is responsible for pollinating.”— A.R. Royo

Lay down your labors for the the day, “for my yoke is easy and my burden is light” Matt 11:30 ††† en theos †††jimwork

IMAGES OF SMALL THINGS FROM THE BIGGEST COUNTY IN TEXAS #555 – A cellophane winged moth hidden amongst the dry bones.

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I was searching my way through our bed of lantana hoping to find my big praying mantis. Not that I need to add to my collection of images of him, he is just so darn interesting to watch. I could see  evidence of his having been around. At the floor of the lantana there were such a pile of various little wings and bug parts that I felt just a bit like Ezekiel in the valley  of dry bones.

Amongst the carnage, clinging to the underside of a leaf, I spied the smallest of a pair of ball like eyes. This was such a small specimen with a 1/2 to 3/4 inch wingspan. He was hunkered so deep in the plant that he was difficult to get at.  I set a couple of small flash units to light him, and eased my way down to within 3-4 inches the staring eyes. The flashes caused him to stir and move just enough as to show his top side.

He had the appearance  of having been constructed of cellophane. Semi transparent with an assemblage of supporting veins. I crawled and wrangled as to afford a decent full view of it’s beauty. I lay there in this twisted upside down position for as long as my own dry bones would allow. I sit early this morning on an ice bag trying to numb the life back into my hips.

But it was certainly worth the view and to experience and ponder more of the true unexplained purpose and cause of such beauty.

Watch for a little glimpse of the beauty that lies in wait all around you. ††† en theos ††† jimwork

Images of small things from the biggest county in Texas #525 – Another woodsy moth looking like a mammoth in the desert.

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We were just finishing up our morning walk and were greeted at our back gate by our neighbor Priscilla. She excitedly told me of this huge and beautiful moth she had found in her backyard.

I grabbed my Nikon and headed on over. I was not disappointed. This creature was the size of my hand and was finished off on the front in with these massive feather like antenna and complete with a bright red touch on the rear of his upper wing.

He was filling the bottom of an ice tea pitcher. I turned and gently moved him about to make some images of his detailed features.

Priscilla enjoyed him for the day and phoned at sunset to let us know she was releasing him. It gave me a warm feeling thinking of him being free. Slowly, more and more I move to become the bug guy.

“Life is a frail moth flying Caught in the web of the years that pass.”- Sara Teasdale

enjoy your freedom ††† en theos ††† jim

Images of small things from the biggest county in Texas- #518 – Lovely palm sized wood textured moth!

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It the midst of a hot afternoon, I donned my macro gear and went to search my yard. I could find little and assumed the insects were holed up as I had been. At the almost giving up point, I found this woody looking moth holed up behind a planter. I slowly moved the planter to give me an area to work. He seemed a little dazed by the heat and laid there still frozen by the heat. His wingspan  was 3 – 3 1/2 inches and his body was just about the size of my pinky finger.

He stayed stationary while I focused on him from various angles. He remained there most of the afternoon and when I checked at bedtime, he had gone to chase his flame.

“Between our birth and death we may touch understanding, As a moth brushes a window with its wing” Christopher Fry- English writer 1907 -2005

Rest until you are drawn to your flame! ††† en theos ††† jim work