Second Brood of Snowberry Clearwing Moths In Flight
Clearwing moths are strong and fast fliers with a rapid wingbeat, like the other members of the Sphingidae family. Most species in the group are active at dusk and feed much like hummingbirds, hovering in front of a flower and sipping nectar through their extended proboscis. In most species, the larval stage is called a “hornworm” because the caterpillar’s posterior end has a horn-like appendage protruding upward.
Like its close relative, the Hummingbird Clearwing (Hemaris thysbe), the Snowberry Clearwing (Hemaris diffinis) is a day-flying moth, has transparent wings and is a mimic. While they both hover at flowers, the Hummingbird Clearwing is said to mimic a hummingbird, while the Snowberry Clearwing is considered a bumblebee mimic. To distinguish these two clearwings, if it has black legs and a black band that crosses the eye and travels down the side of the thorax, it’s a Snowberry Clearwing.
In addition to thistle, adult Snowberry Clearwings feed on honeysuckles, snowberry, hawkweed, lilacs and Canada violets. (Thanks to Barbara and Knox Johnson for photo op.)
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Is the Sphinx moth another name for the Hummingbird Clearwing?
August 22, 2018 at 7:53 am
Both Hummingbird and Snowberry Clearwings are types of Sphinx moths (there are many more species of sphinx/hawk moths!).
August 22, 2018 at 8:31 am
I have them at my house and they are beautiful
August 22, 2018 at 8:01 am
Only seen one this summer, my photos are not a side view so I can’t tell…it’s always exciting to see them…I do have photos of them just about disappearing into bubblegum pink petunias
August 22, 2018 at 8:51 am
They feed on several plants not mentioned in your post.
August 22, 2018 at 9:17 am
Beautiful shot Mary! I failed miserably earlier this summer shooting this insect with my new full frame camera with the 24-105 mm lens on it. I went back in to do a comparison with yours & realized I deleted it & the raws! lol…
The flowering thistle plant & the moth, there is nothing not to like here…
August 22, 2018 at 12:32 pm
You’re very kind, Bill. I should have had a faster shutter speed so I could get unblurred wings!
August 22, 2018 at 1:02 pm
I agree with Bill, this s a stunning shot and so hard to get right. Well done!
August 30, 2018 at 9:51 am