I was outside late this afternoon watching a couple of Mournful Sphinx moths fluttering around the lantana flowers. They are big moths with stocky bodies that are about an inch and a half long, and their wings are in constant motion as they hover around the flowers. At a quick glance they almost look like hummingbirds. I used flash again so I could get more than a brown blur in my photos.
A few anoles were around on the fence, including this green anole perched up on top. He (I think it was a male) was watching the Sphinx moths below him with interest. All of a sudden he made a wild flying leap through the air in the direction of one of the moths. He missed the moth, landed on the ground, and climbed back up to the top of the fence where he continued to watch the moths.
This Sphinx moth ventured to some flowers close to the fence about a foot and a half from the green anole–a bad move with drastic consequences for the moth.
The anole swiftly darted down, grabbed the moth, and hauled it up onto the crosspiece on the fence. It happened too fast to get a photo of the moment of capture, but here’s the anole with the moth as he arrived on the crosspiece. The moth’s body was as big around as the anole’s, and the anole was gripping the moth’s head.
The moth was still very much alive and struggling to break free from the anole’s grasp.
The anole hung onto his prey, but they were pretty evenly matched for awhile.
At one point the moth pulled the anole up off his front feet.
The anole dragged the moth up over the top of the fence. I went around to the front yard where the battle was continuing on the other side of the fence.
The moth finally stopped fluttering, and the anole hauled it back over the fence and off into my neighbor’s yard. I’ve seen plenty of anoles catching small moths in that area, but I would never have guessed an anole would be able to take down one of those big heavy Mournful Sphinx moths!