Congratulations to JoAnne Russo for winning the August 2022 Photo-observation of the Month for the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist! Her photo of a Bedstraw Hawkmoth visiting a daylily received the most faves of any iNaturalist observation in Vermont during the past month.
Moths may not be the first thing to come to mind when you hear the word “pollinator”. You might think of bees, or hummingbirds, or butterflies, or even bats! The truth is, moths are terrific pollinators who visit a host of flowers, most often at night. You may be lucky enough to catch some moth pollination action during the daylight as big, showy clearwing moths and other sphinx moths in the family Sphingidae visit meadows and gardens to sip nectar in the sunshine. Vermont moth expert JoAnne Russo captured one of these visits beautifully as this Bedstraw Hawkmoth reveals its showy hind-wings as it wedges itself deep into the blossom of a daylily. Be on the lookout for the hefty caterpillars of this species, which can be abundant in fields and meadows during late-summer. Their dark-olive bodies and bold cream spots are almost as hard to miss as the colorful adult moths!
Visit the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist where you can vote for the winner this month by clicking the ‘fave’ star on your favorite photo-observation. Make sure you get outdoors and record the biodiversity around you, then submit your discoveries and you could be a winner!