Jul 032012

Hummingbird Clearwing (Hemaris thysbe)

One of nature’s most fascinating creatures is the Hummingbird Clearwing Moth.  Native to Cananda and the eastern U.S.A., this insect resembles, and is commonly mistaken for , a hummingbird.  At 2.5 inches in length, with a colorful “feathery” body, rapid wingbeats, and feeding on flower blossums during daylight…..it’s name is no surpize!

This moth hovers briefly over flowers while sipping nectar through a long feeding tube.  It’s body is covered by green “fur” and it’s wingscale are a burgundy….giving it the appearance of a Ruby Throated Hummingbird.

Part of the large Saturnidae family which includes many of the world’s largest and most spectaclular moths, H. thysbe is a Nearctic species and can be found in the Canadian Yukon and interior Alaska.
Not all moths feed on flower nectar.  Some just live long enough to breed, lay eggs and die.  The feeding tubes used by H. thysbe and others are absolutely unique organs.  Here is a link to some macro photos you should see http://www.3dham.com/animal/moth2feed.html
Here is a link to “Butterflies and Moths of North America.”  It’s a great website!


Steven Scott

Steven Scott

Steven Scott is a photonaturalist blogger based in Florida and Maine. He has surveyed butterflies with Earthwatch Institute in the mountains of Vietnam, tagged juvenile snook with Mote Marine Laboratory in the mangroves of Florida and filmed a BioBlitz insect survey in Acadia National Park. A registered nurse and retired Army officer, Steven believes man is an integral part of nature and travels annually to Vietnam with humanitarian medical teams from Vets With a Mission.

Leave a Comment

  • Carol Duke

    Great captures Steven! I love these illusive hovering creatures. Their ‘fur’ and abdomens remind me of some flyfishing detailed (whatever they are called) fly? I love the butterfly and moth site too! 

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