Insect Identification
Insect Identification

Hummingbird Moth - (Hemaris sp.)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 1/5/2016

The delightful Hummingbird Moth is often first thought to be a bird, making potential predators as well as humans take a second look.

Fast beating wings and a furry body give the Hummingbird Moth the appearance of a small hummingbird, but the moth lacks the long, thin beak, which is one of the hallmarks of a real hummingbird. Instead, the Hummingbird Moth has a proboscis that reaches deep into flowers. It drinks the nectar of many kinds of flowers and helps pollinate them as they wander between plants. The wings of the Hummingbird Moth are mostly transparent with dark borders, which is another indicator that it is not a true bird. It lacks feathers thought the moth looks like it has tail feathers.

See a Hummingbird Moth in motion here:

Hummingbird Moths love gardens and are likely to visit many flowers while they are in the area. They can also be found in meadows and near forests. As a member of the Sphinx Moth family, Hummingbird Moths are daylight foragers that also feed at night. Adults are most active in late spring to early fall.

The larvae enjoy feeding on the leaves and stems of honeysuckle plants (vines as well as shrubs). Planting some in your yard may encourage the Hummingbird Moth adult to visit you more often. The horned caterpillar is green with dark red spot and green lines on its body.

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Category: Butterfly or Moth
Common name: Hummingbird Moth
Scientific Name: Hemaris sp.
Other Names: Common Clearwing

  Kingdom: Animalia
   Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
     Order: Lepidoptera
      Family: Sphingidae
       Genus: Hemaris
        Species: sp.

Adult Size (Length): 40mm to 55mm (1.57in to 2.17in)

Identifying Colors: brown; yellow; white; pink; orange; black; green; gray

Additional Descriptors: bird, furry, flying, helpful, fast, large, hairy

North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Alabama; Alaska; Arizona; Arkansas; California; Colorado; Connecticut; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Hawaii; Idaho; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Mississippi; Missouri; Montana; Nebraska; Nevada; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New Mexico; New York; North Carolina; North Dakota; Ohio; Oklahoma; Oregon; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Vermont; Virginia; Washington; West Virginia; Wisconsin; Wyoming; Alberta; British Columbia; Manitoba; New Brunswick; Newfoundland and Labrador; Nova Scotia; Ontario; Prince Edward Island; Quebec; Saskatchewan; Mexico

* Keep in mind that insect reach is not governed by lines on a map and therefore may appear in areas/regions/states beyond those listed above.