Hummingbird Hawk-Moth

The Hummingbird Hawk-Moth (Macroglossum stellatarum) is not a bird. It is a moth from the Sphingidae family. It looks like a tiny hummingbird because it hovers around plants.

The Hummingbird Hawk-Moth has brown forewings, with black wavy lines across them, and the hindwings are orange with a black edge. The abdomen is quite broad, with a short fan-tail of setae (fine hairs) at the end. It has a long proboscis (sucking nose), which it inserts into flowers to suck up the nectar. Its antennae are very feathery. Like a hummingbird, it makes a slight humming sound.

Hummingbird Hawk-Moth

Hummingbird Hawk-Moth

Its wingspan is about 10 centimetres (4 inches) wide.

It can be found in Eurasia (Europe and Asia), from Portugal to Japan, especially in summer, but it is resident in the warm climates of southern Europe. It likes gardens and parks with lots of flowers, especially honeysuckle.

Unlike most moths, the Hummingbird Hawk-Moth is diurnal – it flies during the day.

The female Hummingbird Hawk-Moth can lay up to 200 translucent, greenish, flattened, smooth eggs, each on a separate plant. The hatched larvae are yellow then turn into green caterpillars, usually after about 6-8 days.

Newly hatched larvae are clear yellow. This stage is about 20 days. The pupae are pale brown and are enclosed in loose silk cocoons.

Hummingbird Hawk-Moth

Hummingbird Hawk-Moth

Hummingbird Hawk-Moth

Hummingbird Hawk-Moth

 

Photographer: Martina Nicolls

Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM

 

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