20th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest Natural World
The Lizard Orchid and the Sleepy Marumba Moth

The beautiful purple Lizard Orchid, Himantoglossum calcaratum subsp. jankae, is one of the most spectacular orchids found within the protected area of the Babadag Forest, part of the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve, in Southeastern Romania. Its large inflorescences bear up to 120 flowers, each with an exceptionally elongated petal (the labellum) resembling a lizard's long, bifurcated tongue. At dusk, a large crepuscular Oak Hawk-moth, Marumba quercus (Family Sphingidae), was sleeping, hanging on one of the flowers. The female moth, which had amazingly beautiful wings and a particularly strong fluffy body, is a very rare encounter in Romania. The wingspan of some Marumba quercus female moths may reach 15 centimetres. Since it did not seem disturbed by my presence, I took a few shots and left her, glad to have had the unique occasion of finally recording it. (Orchids of Romania, by Nora De Angelli & Dan Anghelescu, 2020).

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 08.2022
Date Uploaded: 11.2022
Photo Location: Babadag, Romania
Copyright: © Nora De Angelli