Hawk moth -Reply

Nick Greatorex-Davies NGD at wpo.nerc.ac.uk
Thu May 14 12:19:11 EDT 1998

Marek Michalsk wrote:

>Yesterday I was observing a male of hawk-moth Sphinx ligustri (I don't
>know english name, it's large moth (wingspan about 10 cm ),feeding on
>Fraxinus sp. and other plants. It was flying (rather hovering) in
>plastic box and I noticed, that it was opening it's genitalia, quite
l>arge plates (5-6 mm long), covered with hair. I have a question:
>- what is the aim of this behaviour ?
>I have three hypotheses:
>1)spreading of some scent (male feromones ?) 
>3)feeling of delicate air turbulations

Further suggestions (from a couple of my colleagues):

1. Flatulance
2. Catching flies
3. Propulsion
4. Waving at you

Sorry - I could not resist!

More seriously: the moth is English is called the Privet Hawk Moth. I too
have observed this behaviour, particularly if the moths are held by the
thorax under the wings (perhaps in this situation they are ticklish!).

Nick Greatorex-Davies
ITE Monks Wood. UK.

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