Sunday, August 22, 2010

Clearwing "Hummingbird" Moth...

I was out on the deck tending the flowers when I heard the familiar buzz of hummingbird wings. I didn't think too much about it. I have a feeder out and they are constantly divebombing each other. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the familiar shape and green of the hummingbirds. Again, I didn't think anything of it. That's when I started to look a little closer...

Buzzing around the bright red dianthus, was not a bird... but a BUG! I was surprised to see that this creature was not in fact one of my hummingbird visitors but a clearwing "hummingbird" moth, (also known as, "Hemaris thysbe").

They have large, fleshy bodies that closely resemble the shape and size of an adult hummingbird. The wings were in constant motion, so it appears from a distant that they are indeed hummingbirds. The telltale sign though that they are different creatures are the dark black antennae, long legs and curled tongue.

Above is an illustration of the Clearwing Hummingbird Moth by the talented artist, April Flaherty. CLICK HERE to visit her website to check out more of her botanical themed pieces.

15 comments:

Jamar said...

That's amazing. You have the coolest "little folks" show up to visit you. I'm so glad you got a photo. Once before when you showed your woodpecker at you feeder, I was thinking how I'd had woodpeckers in Arkansas and haven't here and about two days later one was at my feeder.

Emerald Window said...

We have hummingbird moths here also, and a wonderful one called a sphinx moth that has a coat of coral and white stripes. Your's are very beautiful.
Cenya

Higgins Design Studio said...

I have always referred to them as 'Humbugs' we've got lots of them here in SC, along with lots of Hummingbirds.

I miss the vivid colors of the Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds I used to have in my yard in western NY state...

TesoriTrovati said...

That is so unusual and what a phenomenal visitor to welcome to your home. If there weren't so many dang mosquitoes the size of chickens in my yard I might hang out there more often!
Enjoy the day!
Erin

jamberry_song said...

Magnificent! Never seen nor heard of this creature before. Brilliant photo captures of this fellow in motion.

Marsha Neal Studio (Marsha's Garden Blog, Marsha Minutella) said...

We have had them in our garden quite a bit this year. There is also a variation of them that has more black and yellow tones. They are quite good at fooling the eye! The other week we had a day of cooler temperatures and I found one resting on a bit of grass at the top of our garden staircase. So we moved him over to one of the plants to avoid getting tromped on by forgetful feet. I posted some pics on my garden blog on the 15th of that adventure…

So happy you are getting out and enjoying the garden and your cats so much! Your new place suits you well!

Janet said...

Those are some great shots Andrew. That is incredible a moth that looks like a hummer and sounds like one. I dont think Ive ever seen one!

Roberta said...

That is some insect! Never heard of it before! Thanks for sharing.

Documentary said...
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Cindy Caraway said...

These are the most fantastic little creatures! We have a butterfly bush that attracts lots of visitors - butterflies of all sorts, bees and hummingbirds - and, every once in a while, a hummingbird moth! Unlike you, I never have my camera at the ready. Thanks for the shots of your guest :)

kvk said...

Yes! They're amazing! I just saw them for the first time this past week and am so glad my camera was at hand. Thanks for the ID - aside from being extraordinary, I had no idea what they were.

Pearl and Pebble said...

HUH! I never knew this. I will definitely pay closer attention now. What a lovely illustration too! Thanks for the post Andrew:)

Anonymous said...

I would like to exchange links with your site andrew-thornton.blogspot.com
Is this possible?

Andrew Thornton said...

Hey Anonymous!

Maybe it's possible. Who knows? I don't know who you are or what your site is like. So it'll remain a mystery. Normally I only link to people I know or who I do business with. A link on my site is kind of like a "kid tested and mother approved" stamp from me.

Shaiha said...

Wow! What an amazing visitor. I don't know if we have any HumBugs here in washington state but now I wonder if I have been mistaking some of our moths for hummingbirds.