Out There

Canadian Wildlife - - FEATURES - Smerinthus cerisyi

The one-eyed sphinx moth’s stealthy cam­ou­flage in­cludes a sur­pris­ing and ef­fec­tive “look”

RE­GION

Wooded val­leys in south­ern Canada from New­found­land to Bri­tish Columbia

CON­SER­VA­TION STA­TUS

Se­cure

WHY SO SPE­CIAL

Uses false eye­spots to in­tim­i­date preda­tors

COOL FACTS

This large, se­cre­tive moth spends the day rest­ing on a tree trunk, re­ly­ing on its cryp­tic col­oration to blend with the tex­ture of the bark and cam­ou­flage it from the dis­cern­ing eyes of hun­gry song­birds. When gen­tly prod­ded or threat­ened, the moth snaps its forewings for­ward to re­veal two con­spic­u­ous eye­spots on its hind­wings. To heighten the im­pact of this star­tling dis­play, the moth rocks the tip of its ab­domen up and down. The sud­den ap­pear­ance of two large eyes that move men­ac­ingly to­wards an in­truder is un­nerv­ing to hu­mans and would pre­sum­ably spook a small song­bird. If the de­cep­tion fails, the moth is doomed: it has no other means of pro­tec­tion and it is too slow to es­cape.

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