Pollinator of the Week: Hawk (Sphinx) Moth

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Now, from the moth’s perspective, it’s getting a reward in the form of nectar from a flower. But what is the flower gaining by employing a moth as a pollinator rather than using a bee, a hummingbird, a beetle, etc? As I mentioned earlier, hawkmoths can be long distance fliers, often traveling several kilometers in one night in search of nectar.

Sphinx and Hawk Moths Sphingidae. Some species are important pollinators, and many have developed specialized relationships with orchids. Larvae feed both day and night on a variety of plants, sometimes damaging crops and ornamental plants. They are often attacked by Braconid Wasp parasitoids.

The Sphingidae are a family of moths (Lepidoptera), commonly known as hawk moths, sphinx moths, and hornworms; it includes about 1,450 species. It is best represented in the tropics, but species are found in every region. They are moderate to large in size and are distinguished among moths for their rapid, sustained flying ability.

After dark, moths, as well as bats, take over the pollinating night shift. There are some moths that are active by day (diurnal), such as the Hummingbird clearwing (Hemaris thysbe), and visit flowers similar to bees but most moths are crepuscular (active during twilight hours) or are nocturnal (active during nighttime hours).

Hornworms are the larval stage of the hawk or sphinx moth. These moths are often referred to as “hummingbird. Contact her at susan@susansinthegarden.com. Watch this week’s “Everyone Can Grow a.

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Vegetable gardeners might be inclined to squish tomato and tobacco hornworms, which feast voraciously on tomato, pepper and potato plants and other members of the Solanaceae family this time of year. But hey, it’s Pollinator Week, so consider ceding a few fruits or entire plants to these dramatic caterpillars, which later morph into beautiful Sphinx Moths.

Moth creates conundrum for gardeners As an adult, the hawk moth is an important pollinator and teammate of the gardener. Unfortunately, its offspring, the tomato hornworm, destroys tomato plants.

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