Creating a wildlife haven one plant at a time

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Hummingbird Mimic



Is it a bumblebee? Is it a hummingbird? No! This rather bizarre yet interesting species is a hummingbird moth. More accurately known as the Snowberry Clearwing Moth (Hemaris diffinis).

This moth was busily feeding on the Lantana in front of the house when I spotted it the other day. Honestly I wasn't familiar with this creature at all. My husband ran inside to get the camera so we could take some shots. It was very difficult to get any good pictures...this little guy really wasn't particularly interested in posing for the camera.

Like a hummingbird this moth hovers before each flower when it is feeding (unlike a bumblebee which must land) but it has a furry thorax like a bee and the Clearwing has black and yellow bands like a bee too. The Clearwing Moth is in the Sphinx Moth family (Sphingidae) and flies around and feeds during the day.


Feeding on the nectar of lantana


Clearwing Moth and Gulf Fritillary Butterfly on lantana

Like all butterflies and moths they lay eggs on host plants. The Clearwing chooses plants from the honeysuckle family which include snowberry (hence their name) and also cherry, plum and viburnums. The caterpillars spin their cocoons in the leaf litter in the fall and emerge in the spring from the ground.

According to my research the hummingbird moths are common in most gardens. Honestly, this is the first year I have ever seen one in my garden and according to the documented records for Georgia they are not that common in my area.

They are almost as fascinating to watch as my beloved hummingbirds. I will be looking at adding some more host plants to my garden for these wonderful creatures!

3 comments:

  1. Hi Karin,

    Very nice blog! Like you, I love Hummingbird moths almost as much as the Hummingbirds themselves. They're so fascinating to watch in the gardens. Lovely photos.

    Kathy

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  2. I enjoyed your blog and post on the moth. The first image was perplexing. It did look like a hummingbird. If you like hummingbirds and don't mind a little humor at their expense, stop over to my blog for a chuckle.

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  3. I saw a hummingbird moth in my garden last week - unfortunately I didn't have my camera at hand and didn't get a picture. They are indeed fascinating!

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"Don't wait for someone to bring you flowers. Plant your own garden and decorate your soul"

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