This is a beautiful moth I photographed in my garden a few years back. Its presence was discovered by my daughter Vaishnavi, who urged me to take this shot. This moth was about 2 1/2 inches long and was resting on a leaf, quite camouflaged deep inside dwarf palm tree plants.
It was a late evening and the sun had already started to set. The place was surrounded by many plants and leaves. It was difficult for me to erect a tripod. So I had to hold the camera in hand and asked my daughter to hold the flash in an appropriate angle. Composed the shot in such a way that the moth appears diagonal in the frame. I used Canon 1Ds Mark III camera mounted with Canon 100mm Macro lens. Luckily there was no wind and the subject remained still without any movement. This helped my focusing to be sharp. I took few shots making slight variations in the direction of flash. As the subject is nocturnal I kept the background dark. Among all the frames I selected this image as best since this reveals the colour and textural details accurately.
I later identified the species with the help of my close friend Mr.Jayaram, who is also a Macro Photographer and an expert taxonomist.
The moth is a common Hawk / Sphinx Moth and its scientific name is Daphnis nerii and its common name is ” Oleander Moth”. This particular specimen probably, just emerged. Its favorite food plant is ” Nerium Oleander”. In our native language ” Tamil ” we call this plant as “ARALI”. The flowers of this plant are regarded as having high spiritual significance in the temples.
Moths are Insects and they are active during nights. It gets easily attracted by lights and it is interesting to see them circling the lights during nights. Most of them are nocturnal. But a few species are diurnal and crepuscular.
Like bird watching, watching Butterflies and Moths is known as butterflying and mothing.