Sphinx chersis Moth Inflates its Wings

We saw this weird creature at my mom’s house on an olive tree. His wings are tiny.

Turns out he is a Sphinx chersis Moth, also known as hawk moths. The fully-grown caterpillars pupate in burrows in the soil.

As you can see in this photo his wings are suddenly much longer.

When the moth first comes out from its pupal shell, the wings are short, little, wrinkled, limp stubs hanging from the abdomen.

The moth must climb and hang so that the body can pump fluids into the wing veins to expand them.


Here the moth has moved to the other side of the tree to get out of the wind.


Side view of the moth and wings.


Amazing creature.

The wings change so quickly.

Now he is looking more moth like.

Side view just for fun.

Once the wings are fully inflated, the moth assumes a “normal” resting pose. The fluid in the veins hardens and the wings are ready for flight.

We watched this guy for almost an hour. Nature is truely amazing!

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~ by Meg on July 30, 2009.

4 Responses to “Sphinx chersis Moth Inflates its Wings”

  1. great photos, they are remarkable moths, very pretty.

    • Thank you, so glad you enjoyed the photos. Moths are more amazing than I though. I had no idea they went through this process until I saw this. Thanks for your comment

  2. great post!!! interesting and cool pictures!

    • Thanks so much. So glad you enjoyed it. It was a lucky break to be standing by the tree when the moth appeared.

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