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Can anyone ID?

Discussion in 'Macro, Flowers, Insects, and Greenery' started by Pa, Aug 23, 2005.

  1. Can anyone identify this critter? He was buzzing around the "butterfly bush" along with the butterflies. Larger than a bumblebee, smaller than a hummingbird.

    I have no true "macro" lens, so had to shoot with the 50 f/1.8. The light was fading, so the DOF is very shallow.


    33270713-L. 33130749-L.
  2. cmpalmer


    Jan 27, 2005
    Huntsville, AL
    I think that it's exactly what you would think to call it, a Bumblebee Moth. I looked it up to be sure:


    It's in the sphinx moth family which includes hummingbird moths and several others with the same type of body and wings, but different colorings and sizes.
  3. Hummingbird moth

    These are nice shots especially with that lens. This is a male Hummingbird moth. (no kidding)
  4. I am going to retract my ID and go with Chris. Good call Chris.
  5. cmpalmer


    Jan 27, 2005
    Huntsville, AL
    I guess I should have read my own reference a bit closer -- it is AKA a hummingbird moth, not just related to one :redface:
  6. cmpalmer


    Jan 27, 2005
    Huntsville, AL
    I think we're being too polite with each other! We were both right :biggrin:
  7. Surprising unanimity of opinion here. So bumblebee (aka butterfly) moth it is.

    Thanks, guys!
  8. Lisa


    May 3, 2005

    These are awesome shots of a very interesting creature. How large would you say he was?
  9. Rob


    Jul 28, 2005
    Truro, Cornwall, UK
    They are known as Beeflies in this part of the world. A recent incomer via pottery imports etc from the Meditterranean.
  10. It is a member of the Sphingidae Family and is one of the Hemaris species. In the UK and Europe we know them as Bee Hawk Moths, but in the USA you seem to use the term Clearwings, or Snowberry Clearwings because the larvae feed on Snowberry.
    The wings are clear because the wing membrane does not have have the attachments for holding any scales and consequently they are clear.
    Note how it is using the tuffs of hair at the base of the body as a stabiliser. Bee and Hummingbird Hawk Moth species use this technique to stabilise themselves in their hovering flight
    You can tell the species apart by the wings and the fact that Bee Hawkmoths support themselves by their 2 front legs when feeding, whereas the Hummingbird Hawkmoths do not have to as their proboscis, (tongue), is much longer.

    BW. Bob F
  11. I have looked at the various species of Hemaris in North America and you have 2 which are common to the state of Virginia.
    Hemaris diffinis and Hemaris thysbe.
    Yours seems to be H.diffinis. (The Snowberry Clearwing)

    BW. Bob F.
  12. Actually, I was visiting my son near Greensboro, North Carolina when I found these. They have a very large "butterfly bush" in their yard. I haven't seen anything like this in Virginia.

    Here's another shot which actually shows two of them, only one in focus :frown::

  13. Thanks Lisa. They appeared to be about 2 inches long.
  14. What you have here is both the species that are common to North Carolina and Virginia.

    The top one is Hemaris thysbe and the lower one is H. diffinis. You can see the difference in the two from your photo. Not only is the colour of the upper body and thorax different but so are the edges of the wings.

    BW. Bob F.
  15. Rob


    Jul 28, 2005
    Truro, Cornwall, UK
    "They have a very large "butterfly bush" in their yard."

    The bush is a 'Buddleia' (Budd-lay-ah). Hope I'm not being patronising.:eek: 

    It's one of the few things I can recognise in the garden, including the wife!:wink:
  16. I'm sure my wife, who is the gardener in the family, knows the correct name. But she lets me get by with nicknames!
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