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Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Caring for an injured Rustic Sphinx Moth


Sphinx Moth 1
Sphinx Moth 1  

Sphinx Moth 2
Sphinx Moth 2  
Dear Saugy,

I woke up to find what I think is a Rustic Sphinx Moth fluttering around on my front lawn this morning.

I think it's a female judging from the size of her abdomen and the fact that the antennae are smooth. She was having a very hard time flying, and it looks like one of her wings is folded in. I'm not sure what caused the injury but I'm guessing it was the heavy rains last night.

What I'd like to ask you is if there's any way of caring for this moth until it can fly away on its own power. If this moth is indeed female and there's a chance I can at least get her to lay eggs and raise them, even better.

Dear Patrick - About the only thing I can suggest is ti make weak sugar solution (~1:10 sugar to water), soak a cotton ball in the solution, and offer that to the moth. This may not work, as these moths usually get their nectar from flowers having relatively long tubular corollas, such as moon flowers and petunias. The site deals primarily with butterflies, but you still might find it useful.
Good luck, and hope this helps,

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Ed Saugstad


Will accept most questions in general entomology, including those related to medical entomology, taxonomy, ecology, arthropod surveillance, and pest management. If you are requesting a 'mystery bug' identification, PLEASE either attach an image to your question, or post an image on a web page (such as Flickr) so that I can look at it, as verbal descriptions frequently are insufficient for a definitive identification.


21 years in the U.S. Army as a medical entomologist; duties varied from surveillance of pest populations (including mosquitoes, cockroaches, ticks, and stored products pests) to conducting research on mosquito-virus ecological relationships and mosquito faunal studies. Ten years as a civilian analyst for the Department of Defense, primarily on distribution of vector-borne diseases worldwide. Limited experience on surveillance of agricultural insects in North Dakota and Indiana.

Entomological Society of America, West Virginia Entomological Society, Society for Vector Ecology, National Speleological Society, West Virginia Association for Cave Studies.

American Journal of Public Health, Contributions of the American Entomological Institute, Japanese Journal of Sanitary Zoology, Journal of Economic Entomology, Mosquito News, and Mosquito Systematics.

B.S. in entomology from North Dakota State University in 1963, M.S. in entomology from Purdue University in 1967.

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