This spectacular, massive insect is a pandorus sphinx moth. If I didn't know better, I'd guess this was a bug found in tropical rainforests or a similar exotic locale, far away from the asphalt and skyscrapers of downtown Chicago. But amazing as it may seem, this insect is found right here in the city.
Photo by Mason Fidino
This particular individual was spotted just a few hundred yards from Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo. And, if you're wondering about the surface on which this bug is perching, the lovely moth is sitting pretty on a bike tire!
These moths are found throughout the eastern half of the United States and into Canada. Pandorus sphinx moths can grow to have wingspans more than 4 inches long. They are most active from May to October and fly at dusk.
It’s amazing to think that these beautiful insects can be found in our own backyards. To me, this is a real testament to the biodiversity we have all around us. Come on down to Nature Boardwalk and see what you can find today!