Sunday, August 23, 2015

Let go of my grapes!

Today I spent a bit of time performing various vineyard operations; training baby vines up stakes, clearing weeds from the bases of some vines and pulling leaves (and laterals) in the fruit zone.  Just as I was about to remove what I thought was a crumpled up, dead Syrah leaf I realised, right as I was about to grab it, that it was a rather large moth. At about 3.5 inches wide it is the biggest moth I have ever seen.
The Achemon sphinx moth (Eumorpha Achemon) is an occasional California vineyard pest as it is quite fond of feeding on wild and cultivated Vitis species.  The adult moths are rarely seen as they fly only at night and usually hide during the day.  Achemon caterpillars are rapacious feeders and can consume 9 Vitis leaves in a 24 hour period. Great!  Not exactly the type of leaf removal I was planning on.  I haven't spotted any naked vines thus far, so I think Vinoland is safe - for now.


Dennis Tsiorbas said...

Wow! How neat a creature is this? Great nature photo too! Thx for sharing!

Thomas said...

Great photo and fabulous camouflage.

Vinogirl said...

NHW: I thought it was a very cool moth, that is until I read how destructive it can be.

Tomasso: Yes, in the dappled sunlight it really looked like a dead leaf.

Dennis Tsiorbas said...

Every (mostly) rose has thorns. Still a fascinating stiff-winged moth!