Sunday, August 8, 2021

Hummingbird Moth


This hummingbird moth hovered for a rare split second as I watched through the camera lens; I usually photograph hummingbird-moth-blurs as the fast-moving things fly away. Note the detail of this one's lovely long curled proboscis. That thing can snake out and retract like a birthday party noisemaker. Click to enlarge.

People often mistake this big insect for a small hummingbird and it's easy to see why from the body shape, posture, and rapidly beating wings. But on closer inspection you will see that the moth has a pair of antennae, two pairs of wings, and six legs. And that proboscis. To me, seeing one of these is just as exciting as spotting a hummingbird. 

The hummingbird moth belongs to a larger group called sphinx moths or hawk moths that mostly fly by day and hover in front of flowers to feed. This one is in the sphinx moth genus, Hemaris, sometimes called clearwing moths because they have scale-free transparent areas on their wings. Look at the pictures again -- you can see right through their wings. Now that's a cool moth!

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