Stuck?

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Umbrian

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Stuck?
« on: May 30, 2017, 09:51:05 AM »
This morning I noticed a fluttering movement on the flowers of an oenothera and on investigating saw it was one of the hawkmoths. I knew it would be difficult to photograph as it was weighing the flower down but decided to try. When I approached it was at rest but started to flutter rather frantically as I tried to get into position. I decided to sacrifice the stem with the open flower and bend it over so that I could take my photo but it became apparent that the moth was stuck with it's proboscis deep in the flower. Gently I pulled apart the flower at its base and the moth flew away. I wonder what caused this strange phenomena.........
MGS member living and gardening in Umbria, Italy for past 19 years. Recently moved from my original house and now planning and planting a new small garden.

JayB

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Re: Stuck?
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2017, 11:01:21 AM »
You did the right thing, apparently there is an old BBC Autumnwatch episode where Chris Packham explains how the Hawk-Moths can starve by getting stuck on flowwers.
No idea if it goes on to explain anymore about how it happens.
G'day from an Aussie in Spain. Currently attempting a total garden overhaul.

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JTh

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Re: Stuck?
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2017, 08:56:02 PM »
I have seen the same in  Greece with hawhmoths stuck on Oenothera speciosa. My theory is that the oenothera is a relatively new introduction to this part of the world and the local hawkmoths are not yet sufficiently  adapted to this flower, unlike moths in the New World. Just a speculation, but while I was writing these words, I made a quick search and find something that supports my thoughts, see http://www.lefourquet.net/newsletters/1006humbird.html.
Retired veterinary surgeon by training with a PhD in parasitology,  but worked as a virologist since 1992.
Member of the MGS  since 2004. Gardening in Oslo and to a limited extent in Halkidiki, Greece.

Umbrian

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Re: Stuck?
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2017, 06:19:17 PM »
Thanks Jorun - very interesting and I am glad I was able to come to the aid of this trapped one. Hope it tries different flowers from now on.
MGS member living and gardening in Umbria, Italy for past 19 years. Recently moved from my original house and now planning and planting a new small garden.