WHAT IS IT? READ ON TO FIND OUT!
By Meg Brager
Dick LeRoy found this casing while we were digging sweet potatoes at the Booker T. Washington National Monument heirloom garden. We had no idea what it was, maybe a cicada…but it looked too big. You could see the wings through the casing, and it was actually wiggling.
Those present will attest to the fact that in true Master Naturalist fashion I reacted to this unexpected movement by throwing the pupa straight up in the air. I took it home and did some googling.
It appeared to be the pupae of a Sphinx Moth, also known as the Tobacco Hornworm. Apparently it was unharmed by my frightened response, as it has now hatched and is unfurling its wings and proboscis in a box of dirt on my porch. Maybe it would have waited until spring except for the warm weather?
Find more info on these fascinating creatures that are often mistaken for baby hummingbirds. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sphinx_Moth
Visit Booker T Washington National Monument year-round, for free here.