Lesson Plan 16: Sketch and Observe the Catalpa Sphinx Moth

by Brenda Hunt
8th grade biology teacher
Habersham County

Students will make observations of the moth and include them in a sketch. Students will be asked to label the anatomy. Students make inferences as to how structures relate to function.

Catalpa Sphinx Moths and other moth and butterfly pinned specimen, insect classification books, pictures of the moths and colored pencils.

Background Information:
The Catalpa Sphinx Moth, Ceratomia catalpae, is sometimes called the hawk-winged moth. It is a yellowish-brown moth with indistinct markings. The forewing of the moth has a series of four or five dark streaks. The adults feed at night on the nectar of several plants. The moth lays eggs in masses on the underside of the leaves of the Catalpa tree which is its host plant for the caterpillars which emerge from the eggs.

Step One:
Decide if students will sketch their own observations or use a predrawn basic moth body to which they add features they observe. Allow students to use magnifying glasses to observe the moths. Remind them to label the parts of the moth correctly. Students should correctly label the following parts: head, thorax, abdomen, forewing, hindwing, antennae, mouthparts, segments, ovipositor in females, and spiracles.

Step Two:
Place pictures of a variety of moths with labeled anatomy and allow students to use these references to label their drawings.

Step Three:
Students should try to color their moths like the real ones using colored pencils for the best results.

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