Hummingbird moth

The hummingbird moth that is commonly mistaken for a hummingbird:

The Hummingbird moth (Macroglossum stellatarum) is a species of hawk moth with a long proboscis, and is capable of hovering in place, making an audible humming noise. These two features make it look remarkably like a hummingbird when it feeds on flowers. The forewings of the hummingbird moth are brown and the hind wings are orange. The wingspan is 50-58 mm.

The adult hummingbird moth may be encountered at any time of the year, especially in the south of the range and two or more broods are produced each year. They fly during the day, especially in bright sunshine. The larva is green with two stripes along the sides and the horn at the rear end typical of sphingids. The hummingbird moth  usually feeds on bedstraws and madders but has been recorded on other plants including Aster,Centaurea, Petunia, Phlox, Sage and various thistles.

The hummingbird moth is distributed throughout the Northern Hemisphere but is resident only in warmer climates. The hummingbird moth is strongly migratory and can be found virtually anywhere in the hemisphere in the summer. However it rarely survives the winter in northern latitudes (e.g. north of the Alps in Europe).

Hummingbird hawk moth
larger view

Photo taken by Mintguy
Author grants permission to use under GFDL.
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Sphingidae
Genus: Macroglossum
Species: M. stellatarum
Binomial name 
Macroglossum stellatarum
Linnaeus, 1758

Hummingbird moth and a hummingbird on the same butterfly bush

click on the play button below to see video of a Hummingbird moth

Hummingbird hawkmoth feeding on Dianthus

Hummingbird hawk-moth (hummingbird moth) feeding on Dianthus

Photo taken by YummifruitbatThis file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.5 License

All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.


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