Hummingbird moth stops in for a sip

Photo by Yelena Kisler
Staff Writer

Several species of hummingbird moths (Hemaris spp.) like the one pictures are widespread in North America. According to the US Forest Service website, “they fly and move just like hummingbirds. Like them, they can remain suspended in the air in front of a flower while they unfurl their long tongues and insert them in flowers to sip their nectar. They even emit an audible hum like hummingbirds… Like all Lepidoptera, their wings are covered by scales; some species lose many of the scales from patches on their wings, so they are called clearwing hummingbird moths.” Unlike most moths, they are active during the day and the most familiar ones are the Snowberry Clearwing (Hemaris diffinis) and the Hummingbird Clearwing (Hemaris thysbe).

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