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Hummingbird Clearwing Moth

Of all the insects I’ve found in milkweed patches over the years, the Hummingbird Clearwing is one of my favorites. It is a species of sphinx moth, named for its habit of hovering at flowers while it gathers nectar with its proboscis in a manner similar to that of hummingbirds. In fact, they are often mistaken for hummingbirds. The transparent wings, light brown thorax and dark chestnut abdomen are the field marks to look for. A diurnal moth, the Hummingbird Clearwing can often be found during the day in milkweed patches.

10 responses

  1. Elizabeth

    Great picture! Cool insect. I am going to keep an eye out for this one.

    June 29, 2012 at 12:43 pm

  2. These guys used to visit a patch of flox right outside my kitchen window, often in the late afternoon. Haven’t seen them in several years here. Last year I saw three of them in about two week’s time. An absolute gem of an insect….

    June 29, 2012 at 1:02 pm

  3. Craig

    Stunning photo of a really neat insect. Thank you Mary!

    June 29, 2012 at 1:39 pm

  4. Susan in NH

    We have our own endearing name for these fascinating moths… “Flying Lobsters” !

    July 2, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    • How funny. Someone I know just told me she thought it looked like a lobster, and I could see exactly what she meant. See you soon! Xoxo M.

      July 2, 2012 at 4:48 pm

  5. Audra

    Thank you for posting info and pictures of the clearwing hummingbird moth. My husband and I saw one in our flower garden and really weren’t sure what we were seeing as neither of us had seen one of these before. We’ll be watching closely for his return.
    Lethbridge, Alberta

    August 7, 2013 at 3:00 am

    • So happy to help you with its identification. They are amazing moths, aren’t they?

      August 7, 2013 at 11:24 am

  6. Kristen

    I found this in my garden yesterday, suckling from the flowers. I never saw anything like it so I came in and searched through hummingbird images and found your site. Thank you, I was a little worried that hummingbirds were mutating! hahahaha
    Great Falls, Mt.

    August 26, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    • Can’t see the image, but delighted you identified the moth!

      August 26, 2014 at 12:09 pm

  7. Giovanna Horning

    Thanks so much for this, your post helped me quickly identify a visitor to the yard that I wanted to learn about!

    July 5, 2016 at 6:52 pm

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