Sphinx moth trapped while feeding from ginger lily flower

Olympia Terral brought in a sphinx moth that had died with its proboscis trapped in a ginger lily flower. At first it appeared that the proboscis was stuck between the calyx and carolla. However, carefull microscopic examination revealed that the proboscis had been inserted deep into a flower. The carolla of this flower had died and shrunk, tightly enshrouding the proboscis. Dissection of the corolla showed that it is lined with downward-angled hairs. These hairs may have caused enough friction to prevent the moth from withdrawing its proboscis.

Olympia has seen this phenomenon several times on Guam and similar observations have been previously reported elsewhere:







There were a large number of white-footed ants, Technomyrmex albipes, tending aphids, Pentalonia caladii, in these flowers.


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Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith