One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A moth of the hawk moth family ("Sphingidae")
- ‘The majority of species are active in the late evening or in the darkness of the night, and sphingids were assumed to use olfaction rather than vision to find and recognise flowers.’
- ‘He inferred from this that both sphingids and hummingbirds are approaching the limit of aerodynamic performance for animals in their size range.’
- ‘More than one half of the sphingids presented pollen from only one or two species of plants.’
- ‘The terms Sesiinae and Sesiicae were rejected because the type genus of these taxa is not a sphingid.’
- ‘Pittaway is a well travelled lepidopterist with a passion for sphingids.’
Early 20th century: from modern Latin Sphingidae (plural), from Greek Sphinx (see sphinx).
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