Panther Island Adventures!

Panther Island is 2,800 acres of restored wetland and upland habitats situated in the northwest corner of Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary's 13,000 acres. It is home to numerous plants and animals including the Florida panther and the iconic wood stork.
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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Critter of the Week for July 5: Banded Sphinx Moth

The caterpillars for the banded sphinx moth are large and beautiful! Primrose-willow and other plants in the evening primrose family (Onagraceae) are the host plants for the caterpillars of this species. The caterpillars are also extremely variable (both photos above are banded sphinx moth caterpillars). Note the similar black dots and white banding. Their range extends from northern Argentina northward to the southern United States. Once the caterpillars have matured, they descend from the host plant and can into shallow subterranean burrows where they pupate. In butterfly and moth terminology, a "flight" is a generation of adults. The Florida population has several flights in a year. Adults forage on the nectar of a variety of flowers under cover of night. Sphinx moths are often referred to a hawk moths. This is due to their strong flying and hovering abilities. These moths can almost get speeds up to 25 mph!  For photos of the adult moth go to...


  1. I was planning on going to Corkscrew today (July 21) to see the Ghost Orchid when I got an email from Sally that it was done blooming - bummer! I have to go back up north tomorrow and will not be back until September so will probably miss it's next blooming. Of course, I can always hope that it will bloom in September. Anyway, this got me interested in looking at the Banded Sphinx Moth since it is the orchid's pollinator. Beautiful insect with an interesting caterpillar too. I would guess that the caterpillar is bad tasting since it is so colorful. Usually the colorful ones are bad tasting so that the birds know not to eat them. By the way I had an opportunity to visit the butterfly garden at Lincoln Park Zoo this summer. At 2pm every day they release butterflies and it is very interesting to see. They had a very large moth too that only lives for a week or so as it has no mouth to eat with. It only lives to procreate however I can't remember what it does once it emerges from its crysallis.

  2. Dianne, the ghost orchid is starting another flush of blooms! Go now or perhaps next week if you want to catch this 'wave'.

    The Florida Native Orchid Guy
    The Florida Native Orchid Blog