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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Is it a Bird? Is it a Plane? No it's a ... what is it?

 I was sitting at the dining room table with my coffee, looking out at the garden as I like to do, when suddenly something caught my eye.

"Wow," I thought, "look at the size of that bumble bee on the verbena." As I ran outside with my camera I scanned the verbena for whatever it was I had seen.

 Please forgive the poor quality photo, it had the uncanny ability to scoot sideways or backwards in the time my camera took to take the photo.  This is the best photo I got.

From what I can tell, it's a Snowberry Clearwing Moth, Hemaris diffinis. It's considered a small hummingbird moth, measuring 1 1/2" to 2 " and, as you can see, it resembles a bumble bee. Like other hummingbird moths, it's active in daylight hours.

I was amazed to see one in the garden.  I'd heard about them and read other blogs which mentioned them, but I had never seen one before.  It's movement was very hummingbird like as it hovered in front of blooms and then backed up, and flew sideways to the next bloom.

A very interesting creature!

Words and photographs by Jayne Wilson, Green and Serene, Jayne's Country Garden.


Kyna said...

Hummingbird moths are so cool We've had one in our garden a couple of times. The really like my honeysuckle. We seriously thought it was a tiny hummingbird at first, before we did some research lol :D

Kathleen Scott said...

How cool! They love tubular flowers, preferring white. Plant a stand of white Salvia greggii (perennial) and some white pentas (annual most years) and you'll see them every dusk. They might also lay eggs on the pentas (I've had a near-relative on red pentas). Amazing caterpillars. I let them defoliate the plants, which seem to grow back just fine.