Friday 2 June 2023

A Clearwing Hummingbird Moth

     Every year when our Lilac bushes bloom, I eagerly await the arrival of the Clearwing Hummingbird Moth (Hyles lineata).  Hummingbird moths were the most puzzling insects I had ever run into.  I was not aware that such a thing even existed, when long ago, I first saw one darting around on a Lilac bush.  

    My first thought was that it was a tiny hummingbird, but hummingbirds are already tiny and this thing was even tinier than that.  It moved like a hummingbird, and went after the pollen in the Lilac flowers like a hummingbird, but it was just too small.  I thought I had discovered some unknown creature, then with a little research, I realized that it was a Hummingbird Moth.

    Unlike a hummingbird that has a beak, the Hummingbird Moth has a coiled proboscis, that straightens out when it is sucking nectar from a flower. 

    I never see more than one or maybe two at the same time, so they aren’t real common.  Some years I don’t see any at all, which sets me worrying, but happily this year, I saw one and was lucky to get some photos.

    If you want to get more information about them, check out this video.  It begins with a brief description of hummingbirds, then introduces the Hummingbird Moth.  It shows them flying around.

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