Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Snowberry Clearwing Hummingbird Moth (Hemaris diffinis)

When I saw this furry little hummingbird lookalike fly up to a milkweed blossom, I at first thought he was a Hummingbird Clearing Moth (Hemaris thysbe), but when he turned sideways, I could see he was wearing a little black mask and black gloves, making him a Snowberry Clearwing Hummingbird Moth (Hemaris diffnis)...

A Snowberry Clearwing Hummingbird Moth (Hemaris diffinis) nectars on Common Milkweed.

The little black mask on his face and the black gloves on his legs give him away as a Snowberry Clearwing Hummingbird Moth (Hemaris diffinis). The other Hummingbird moth, a Hummingbird Clearwing Moth (Hemaris thysbe), has no mask and has lighter colored legs. Click here for a previous post on Hemaris thysbe.

While nectaring, hummingbird moths stabilize their hovering by placing their front legs on the blossom.

...such a furry little body! He looks more like a tiny flying mouse than a moth. I'm surprised he doesn't have the nickname Hummingbird Mouse...since "flying mouse" (Die Fledermaus, Bat) is already taken!

Hummingbird moths start with maroon-colored wings, but after their first flight, the scales start to drop off, creating the "clear wings" for which they are named.

This Snowberry Clearwing Hummingbird Moth was nectaring at Shawnee State Park just outside the nature center in the butterfly garden.

...the yellow bands on the inside of his abdomen cause some to worry his is a very large bumble bee, but don't worry, the Snowberry Clearwing has no stinger. He just likes to drink nectar...

26 comments:

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Beautiful, Kelly... I love seeing them --especially with their wings spread... Loves those clear wings!!!!!! He does look a little like a Hummingbird, doesn't he?
Hugs,
Betsy

texwisgirl said...

Gorgeous shots, Kelly! Just beautiful! Fascinating creature!

Debbie said...

wow....these are just amazing, you can see right through his wings!!

LOVE the blooms also!!!

Lois Evensen said...

So beautiful. You have complete mug shots from all angles. You must have a very gentle style behind the camera and as you most not to frighten your subjects away.

Debo Boddiford said...

Wonderful photos!! I always learn something new on your blog!

Elaine said...

Fantastic shots, Kelly! The milkweed blossom is the perfect background. I always get excited when I see a clearwing moth in my flowers. They are so cool!!

Sue said...

Kelly, I knew if there was anyone that could get a great shot of these wonderful creatures, it would be you! Great job. I love the detail. I'm unable to get a decent CLEAR photo of these guys.

Roy said...

Superb macros Kelly.

KaHolly said...

Wonderful job capturing the Clearwing!! I had the opportunity last summer, and it wasn't easy to capture them. You must have one heck of a camera!!! Loved your post. ~karen

Hilke Breder said...

Wow! Kelly, your series of the Snowberry Clearwing Hummingbird Moth (what a romantic name!) is absolutely magnificent! Thanks also for your explanations and info on the moth - very instructive. How do you find such fascinating subjects? You must have very observant eyes.

Wanda..... said...

Your photos are splendid, Kelly...I need to try harder...I only have one good photo of a Hummingbird moth!

'Years' ago, as I rounded the corner of my house, a hummingbird moth stopped in midair just inches from my face, at the time I didn't know what I was seeing. For some reason it looked like a flying miniature human/elf to me, left me wondering!

KAT said...

very interesting post I think I have seen one of these guys before I thought was a bee of some kind
KAT

The Zen Birdfeeder said...

Kelly, fantastic captures on this hovering moth! Very interesting patterns to it.

Mary said...

Wonderful shots! THese guys are so hard to catch up with. I was chasing one around a flower garden today :-) They are so unusual, I never tire of seeing good photos of them....yours are great!

Montanagirl said...

Beautiful photos of this furry little guy. They're such an interesting little creature!

Janice K said...

Neat. neat pictures. Such a pretty little masked man.

Kathiesbirds said...

Amazingly clear shots of a very busy insect! What a mouthful for its name too!

Pam Johnson Brickell said...

I soooo love your work!

Richard said...

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Banjo52 said...

Once again great photos and a real education, way outside my normal sphere, and yet not far from my old stomping grounds. Thank you!

Carol Mattingly said...

Beautiful, Kelly. I have never seen this type of moth before and was totally stunned at how gorgeous he is and how you photographed him. So glad you did many different views so I could get a really good look. Thank you. Carol

Kelly said...

...thanks, everyone. Friday I saw another Snowberry Clearwing Hummingbird Moth, but this time he was at Fernald Nature Preserve. He was really cute and had a very visible yellow/black abdomen. I saw him twice through the meadows there...

Busy Bee Suz said...

Your bird photos are always outstanding!
The wings are just magical.
Suz

Angela said...

I have seen these creatures before but had no idea what they were. Thanks for the beautiful pictures and the info.

PaperSponge.com said...

Great blog! I was visited by one of these unique moths yesterday and posted it on my blog. You've got some great pics. I hope to see some more!

elnigma said...

Thank you! I saw one of these today, and your blog let me identify its variety! And your pictures are beautiful! it's hard to photograph them, they don't sit still!