Sphinx ligustri – a hawk-moth-horror-story from 1931

This almost finger-sized caterpillar was easy to identify (pink & white stripes, and the spike – I hope I´m right though). The Privet Hawk-moth larvae find food in many gardens (privet!), where they grow to an impressive size and later transform into huge moths. Nothing scary so far, if we don´t relate privet to a child surviving the attack (and loss of parents) of a magic weirdo without a nose. But the real world has it´s horror stories as well. We know that the old days could be rough, and so it seems that it had some academic value to describe how an animal behaved after tearing or cutting it into pieces. So did Robert in July or August 1931, what hopefully never happens again. He found caterpillars of S. ligustri, and he wrote about it. Nice story, he found a lizard eating one caterpillar, and then he fed him one more. And then he removed one caterpillar’s head and fed him leaves. Wait what?! Why would you do that?! Don’t kill animals guys! OK the horror-fact was, the head kept eating leaves for two ours. That is a hell of a muscle memory. And Robert wrote it down just as if it wasn’t crazy weirdo’s-hit! Don’t kill animals! But the story (it’s in German) is a piece of history and has it’s charm! Not easy to find lizards and large insects in Germany nowadays. Hawk moths are large moths with hawk-wing-shapes wings and they live in many regions of the world. Pictures of other species (or the same?) will follow!

Sphinx moth larva in sphinx pose (Salamba Bhujangasana). I guess it was looking for a nice spot to pupate. The spike has no stinging function, they are totally harmless!