Image: Grapevine Hawk Moth specimen

Grapevine Hawk Moth specimen

Grapevine Hawk Moth.

Photographer:
D Britton
Rights:
© Australian Museum

Last Updated:

Tags Grapevine Hawk Moths, Sphingidae, Lepidoptera, insects, invertebrates, identification,

3 comments

David Britton - 7.04 AM, 19 April 2011

Hi Jess,

The slit at the tip of the abdomen is where the genitalia and the excretory tract are located. Many insects will dump the content of their guts when in danger, as a way of either distracting or repulsing a potential predator. In the case of moths, such as your hawk moth, the liquid is the fluid that has been used to expand the wings just after the moth has emerged from the pupa. It is usually very smelly, as it is full of waste products accumulated whilst the moth has been metamorphosing in the pupal stage. It is the insect equivalent of meconium, and the moth makes good use of it, not only as waste storage, but for helping to expand the wings, and for deterring predators.

jess.cary - 2.02 PM, 07 February 2011
noticed a slit*
jess.cary - 2.02 PM, 07 February 2011
i caught (what i believe to be) a grapevine hawk moth last night and was holding it to get a better look as it looked like an interesting moth. while holding it i noticed a slip on the tip on the underside of its abdomin opening up, it then squirted me in the face. and once i let it go, it flew over me and squirted me again in the face. just wondering what that was? ive never heard of moths doing that before?

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