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SBricker's avatar

'Snowberry Clearwing Moth'

You might have never seen one of these…this is a Snowberry Clearwing moth (Hemaris diffinis) feeding on a butterfly bush (buddlea‘Black Knight ’ )...yes, it flies and acts just like a hummingbird, and notice that the wings have no scales, so they are transparent … it’s about 2” long, and a 2.5” wingspan…very tough to focus on, this little guy was always moving, always hovering, never sitting…notice how it is anchoring itself with its feet, but has no weight on its legs..even though the antennae look like a butterfly’s, and it flies and feeds during the day, it is a moth…note how it fans the hairs on it’s rear end to act as a ‘tail’...

Also notice that in this (and other pics I took) that the body and legs are in good focus (perfectly still), while the wings and antennae are blurred…they seem to make hovering trim adjustments by moving their antennae rapidly…I love these things…nature is so amazing…

The clearwings are in the same family as the usually larger Sphinx and Hawk moths, but are a distinct species

~ use large view, please ~

Kent Island, Md. US
Nikon P80, auto macro

thanks for the look, my friends!
Image details
Image size
1800x1800px 1.49 MB
Shutter Speed
387747/100000000 second
Focal Length
13 mm
ISO Speed
Date Taken
Jun 23, 2009, 12:24:35 PM
© 2009 - 2021 SBricker
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davincipoppalag's avatar
Cool! Never saw one
TRIARII117's avatar
I've seen moths like these before, but I'm sure it is not that particular species. Rather what I see around here is some sort of sphinx moth
SBricker's avatar
These are smaller than most other hawk (sphinx) moths I have seen, though I think there are some this small; I think that sphinx and hawk moths do not have the 'tail' as the clearwings do (at least none I have seen...)
duggiehoo's avatar
Super shot...Actually a Snowberry Clearwing moth, Hemaris diffinis. Info here [link] and here [link]

In short...dark legs, some black underside of thorax, more bumblebee looking, smoother edging of/and clear discal cell.

Info on Hummingbird Clearwing here [link]
SBricker's avatar
ahhh! thank you my friend! I stand corrected! I didn't think that was quite right, but I didn't find that when going thru the info...I collected lepidoptera for years as a teenager, always just called them as above, thought the slight difference in appearance may be a regional variation...thanks again, will correct! Glad you like the pic!