Thursday, December 13, 2012

Daphnis nerrii - Oleander Sphinx Moth

One day, I saw my Madagascar Periwinkle plant with wilting leaves and decided to examine it more closely. It was then that I discovered many wriggling green caterpillars amongst the foliage.


Here this juicy green crawling sausage was seen to be relaxing after enjoying one of its eating binges.


I can see three pairs of spindly legs in front and four more pairs of stumpy legs in the mid-section, where the feet seem to be shod in 'black boots'. At the posterior end, there is another pair (in boots too) to anchor it during movement.
 

They are flexible and can feed in any position. Apparently being upside down is not an issue. At its posterior end a yellow 'tail' is present.


 
They were plump and succulent from chomping greedily on the leaves. However they do not bother with the flowers at all.

 
Its amazing how the feeding frenzy of a tiny caterpillar can cause it ...


to balloon up in a matter of days.



I was watering a dwarf Tabernaemontana orientalis when ...


 I saw this caterpilar on the floor near the plant. It was drenched wet from the shower. The heavy watering must have caused it to be dislodged.


I gingerly transported it to a dry spot on the grass.


It appeared to have a yellow tinge and apparently ready to move to the next stage in its metamorphosis.


Two days after I've placed it in a cardboard box, it turned into a brown shape; its legs no longer visible.  This must be the pupa and looked like a nicely fried sausage. When I moved the box, it flicked from left to right.

 There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it's going to be a butterfly.  ~Richard Buckminster Fuller



The is the newly emerged moth.  Its beautiful green pattern reminds me of   army camouflage material.


Thick feelers and resting with its wings down are some of the distinguishing features of a moth.


Moths are also more furry than butterflies.


It was sprawled almost motionless on the patio floor.


Its red eyes are similiar to that of the Giant Redeye or Gangara thyrsis butterfly.


It later flew off and settled on the wall.


Hooks at the ends of its front legs enable it to hang from the wall.



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