The delightful Hummingbird Moth gets a second look thanks to its fast, furious wings and bird-like body.
Hummingbird Moth Videos
A Hummingbird Moth drinking nectar
Rapid beating of the Hummingbird Moth's wings
Fast-moving Hummingbird Moth on a phlox plant
Rapid-beating wings and a furry body give the Hummingbird Moth the appearance of a small hummingbird, but this 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 blossoms and helps pollinate them as it wanders between plants. The moth is also a quiet flyer whereas a true hummingbird creates a low buzz when it flies. The wings of the Hummingbird Moth are mostly transparent with dark borders, which is another indicator that it is not a true bird. The head area is a yellow-green and the lower part of the body is brown with a broad yellow band near the end of the abdomen. It lacks feathers, but this moth certainly looks like it has tail feathers.
Hummingbird Moths love flower gardens and are likely to visit many plants 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. Look for its horned green caterpillar feeding on leaves.
Scientific Name: Hemaris sp.
Other Name(s): Common Clearwing
Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 40mm to 55mm (1.56in to 2.15in)
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Butterfly and Moth Anatomy
Antennae: Butterflies and Moths have a pair of antennae on the head used as sensors.
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and proboscis.
Thorax: Home to the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
Abdomen: Contains vital internal organs such as the heart(s) and reproduction facilities.
Forewing: The upper, forward wing pair used for flying.
Hindwing: The lower, rearward wing pair used for flying.
NOTE: Butterflies and Moths are part of the Lepidopteran order as they share many similarities.