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.
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 (caterpillars) are yellow then turn into green caterpillars, usually after about 6-8 days.
Moth caterpillars pupate – they make a cocoon which is a casing. Inside the cocoon, the caterpillar undergoes metamorphosis (changes), and it emerges as an adult moth.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM