Sunday, March 30, 2008
Hummingbird Clearwing Moth
Hummingbird Clearwing Moth , Hemaris thysbe, nectaring on Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica).
They are sometimes called hawk moths, and are in the same family as those most unwelcome guests, the tomato hornworms.
Thysbe (Thisbe) in myth: the Greek version of Juliet.
One web source suggests that Hemaris comes from the root haem (blood), but another says it derives from the Greek hemera (day). See here.
A hornworm on your viburnum is probably this species. Leave it! It won't eat much. And it turns into this enchanting creature.
I wondered whether this moth's wing motion was the same as a hummingbird's. The second photo would seem to suggest it, but I couldn't find confirmation on the internet.