Hummingbird Clearwing Moth
In NEPA, some people think these moths give the impression of being like baby hummingbirds, others suppose they have spotted a mutant bee and some just do not know what to believe the first time they spot one.
Hemaris thysbe, commonly known as the Hummingbird Clearwing, is a moth of the Sphingidae family.
Coloration varies between individuals, but usually the moth is olive green and burgundy on its back and white or yellow and burgundy on the underside. Its wings are transparent with a reddish brown border.
It has light colored legs, that combined with its lack of striping on its underside is diagnostic. Beating its wings briskly, H. thysbe hovers to gather nectar from a mixture of flowers.
The arrangement of its appearance and its activities commonly leads to it being bewildered with a hummingbird or bumblebee.
Hemaris thysbe is found in a large portion of the United States with a range extending from Alaska to Oregon in the west and from Maine to Florida in the east.
It is a migrant species and is most widespread in the eastern United States. H. thysbe was two broods a year in the southern portion of its range, but only one in the north.
As a caterpillar, it feeds on honeysuckle and several variations of fruit trees. Due to the variable appearance of H. thysbe, it has over and over again been mistakenly described as multiple distinct species.
It was first identified by Johan Christian Fabricius in 1775. The moth is not endangered and has minimal economic impact upon humans.
September 2nd, 2013
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