Monday, August 11, 2014
The Verdant hawk moth (Euchloron megaera)
Verdant is a lovely word, it speaks of forested hills with lush, dripping vegetation. An oasis, the kind of landscape that I return to in my thoughts. Madagascar was the first place I saw this flying green leaf, which is unusual, seeing that it is much more common in Mozambique. Think of the stamina that it took to cross 4-500 km of unrelenting ocean to the red island, and you gain some respect for the ability of this tiny green creature to somehow endure, and make the crossing.
This emerald hawk moth employs three different strategies to keep it off the lunch menu of the ravenous birds, spiders, and other predators in Africa.
Firstly it vanishes when sitting on a patch of foliage, secondly it may flash its orange and black hind wings in a display called warning color or aposematism. This may be enough to deter a pursuing bird, and finally, when in flight it may suddenly fold its wings making the orange disappear instantaneously and confusing the predator altogether.
We live with these jewels all around us, ( I see at least one a month in summer) lets stop and admire the foliage, there may be more present than at first meets the eye.