hummingbird clearwing

(Hemaris thysbe)

hummingbird clearwing
Photo by Bill Reynolds
  Hodges #

7853

 
 
Conservation Status
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

N5 - Secure

SNR - Unranked

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
           
           
 
Description
 
 

Hummingbird clearwing is a common, medium to large, sphinx moth. In poor light or at a distance it is easily mistaken for a hummingbird, due to similarities in both appearance and behavior. It has a wingspan of 19 16 to 23 16.

When the adult first emerges from the cocoon the wings are completely covered with dark wine-red scales. The scales begin to drop off with the first flight, eventually leaving the wings clear except on the margins and along the veins. The forewing is long and narrow with a smooth, slightly convex outer margin. The forewing cell is boldly outlined and is either mostly covered with dark scales or is bisected by a thin, dark line that looks like, but is not, a vein.

The appendage (tegula) covering the forewing base is olive green. The thorax is unbanded, olive green above, and yellow below.

The abdomen is banded with five colors. Abdominal segments 1 and 2 are olive green; segments 3 through 5 are tan with a few olive-green hairs; segments 6 and 7 are dark wine-red; segments 8 and 9 are olive green, often with a small to large, dark wine red patch in the middle; and segment 10 is black. Tufts of long hairs flare outward from the tenth abdominal segment and look like feathers.

The head is olive green. The antennae are black, thickened, and club-like. The proboscis is long and is coiled under the head when not in use. The legs are yellowish or pale colored.

The legs are pale.

The caterpillar is lime green and up to 2 long. The head, thorax, and abdominal segments 1 through 7 and 10 are moderately covered with prominent, minute, white bumps. Abdominal segments 8 and 9 have much fewer, scattered, less prominent bumps. The leading edge of the thorax has a yellow, warty collar. A long, curved, often bluish horn extends from the eighth abdominal segment. A yellow subdorsal stripe extends from the first thoracic segment to the horn. The spiracles are white with a red center and an orange base. The leg-like structures (prolegs) on the abdomen are yellow at the base, black in the middle, and green at the end with an brownish-red band. Mature caterpillars can be found from May onward.

 
     
 

Size

 
 

Wingspan: 19 16 to 23 16

Total Length: 1 to 13 16

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
     
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Meadows, gardens, woodland openings.

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Season

 
 

Two broods: May to September

 
     
 

Behavior

 
 

Adults fly during the day.

 
     
 

Life Cycle

 
 

Females attract males by releasing pheromones. After mating, she lays spherical green eggs on the underside of host leaves. The eggs hatch in about one week and the caterpillars begin feeding on leaves and fruit of the host plant. They molt five times in four weeks before pupating. The first generation pupates in a cocoon among the leaf litter on the ground. Adults emerge two to four weeks later. The second generation caterpillar burrows into the soil and overwinters as a pupa and emerges in as an adult in May or June.

 
     
 

Larva Hosts

 
 

Mostly viburnum (Viburnum spp.), but also honeysuckle (Lonicera spp.), snowberry (Symphoricarpos), hawthorn (Crataegus spp.), and cherry (Prunus spp.).

 
     
 

Adult Food

 
 

Flower nectar.

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

7, 21, 24, 29, 30, 75.

 
  8/1/2021      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

 

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
 

Order

Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths)  
 

Suborder

Glossata  
 

Infraorder

Neolepidoptera  
  Parvorder Heteroneura  
  No Rank Ditrysia  
  No Rank Obtectomera  
 

Superfamily

Bombycoidea (hawk-moths)  
 

Family

Sphingidae (hawk moths, sphinx moths, and hornworms)  
 

Subfamily

Macroglossinae  
 

Tribe

Dilophonotini  
 

Genus

Hemaris  
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

 

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

common clear-wing

hummingbird clearwing

hummingbird clearwing moth

hummingbird moth

sphinx colibri

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Anal plate

In snakes: the large scale in front of and covering the anus. In turtles: one of the posterior plates of the lower shell (plastron). In Lepidoptera: the often hardened shield on the dorsal surface of the last (10th) segment of the abdomen.

 

Proleg

A fleshy structure on the abdomen of some insect larvae that functions as a leg, but lacks the five segments of a true insect leg.

 

Prothoracic shield

The hardened plate on the dorsal surface of the first segment of the thorax.

 

Tegula

A small, hardened plate or flap-like structure that overlaps the base of the forewing of insects in the orders Lepidoptera, Hymenoptera, Diptera, and Homoptera.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
Visitor Photos
 
           
 

Share your photo of this insect.

 
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Karen

 
    hummingbird clearwing      
 

Nanc

 
 

Spotted in my vegetable garden.

 
    hummingbird clearwing   hummingbird clearwing  
 

Bobbi Johnson

 
    hummingbird clearwing      
 

Alfredo Colon

 
    hummingbird clearwing   hummingbird clearwing  
 

Rick Thome

 
    hummingbird clearwing      
 

Chuck Ward

 
 

On Perennial Pollinator

 
    hummingbird clearwing   hummingbird clearwing  
           
    hummingbird clearwing   hummingbird clearwing  
 

Colin Warren

 
 

Snacking on some Persian Cat Mint

 
    hummingbird clearwing      
 

Norm & Peg Dibble

 
 

Sphinx Moth, 2017

 
    hummingbird clearwing      
 

Jane W

 
 

Feeding on shaded impatiens flowers

 
    hummingbird clearwing      
 

Bill Reynolds

 
  Found this Clearwing Hummingbird moth this morning after it spent the night hanging onto a dried thistle bloom.   hummingbird clearwing  
           
    hummingbird clearwing   hummingbird clearwing  
           
    hummingbird clearwing      
 

Tom Baker

 
    hummingbird clearwing   hummingbird clearwing  
           
    hummingbird clearwing   hummingbird clearwing  
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
 
    hummingbird clearwing      
           

 

Camera

     
 
Slideshows
 
Hummingbird Clearwing (Hemaris thysbe)
Andree Reno Sanborn
  Hummingbird Clearwing (Hemaris thysbe)  
Hemaris thysbe - Hummingbird Clearwing Moth
Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren
  Hemaris thysbe - Hummingbird Clearwing Moth  
 
About

H. diffinis (Snowberry Clearwing) has black legs, the legs of H. thysbe (Hummingbird Clearwing) are off white to reddish, H. gracilis (Slender Clearwing) does have more maroon colored legs than H. thysbe, but the best character to diagnose H. gracilis is a reddish-brown patch along the side of the thorax where the legs meet the thorax, that coloration carries over into the legs. - Ryan St Laurent on Mothing

 
Hummingbird Clearwing Moth
jt893x
  Hummingbird Clearwing Moth  
     

 

slideshow

       
 
Visitor Videos
 
       
 

Share your video of this insect.

 
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Other Videos
 
  hummingbird clearwing moth (Hemaris thysbe)
KillerChicken
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Aug 29, 2006

This hummingbird clearwing moth has been lurking in my garden for a week or so now. It was so intent on feeding it didn't care how close we approached it.

 
  Hummingbird Clearwing (Hemaris Thysbe) Amazing Wing Action HD
Andrew Lombardo
 
   
 
About

Published on Jul 10, 2013

You have to see the wings starting at about 35 seconds.

nWatch in 1080HD.

 
  Hemaris thysbe caterpillar
The Urban Gardener
 
   
 
About

Published on Nov 1, 2013

No description available.

 
  Hummingbird Clearwing Moth (Hemaris thysbe) in slow motion
Little Lives Through My Lenses
 
   
 
About

Published on Oct 3, 2013

My Blog: http://www.littlelivesthroughmylenses.wordpress.com/
My Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Little-Lives-Through-My-Lenses-Blog/312251308917285?ref=hl
Blog post for this video:http://littlelivesthroughmylenses.wordpress.com/2013/08/20/slow-motion-hummingbird-moths-mantis-updates-freaky-spiders-and-more/

These are clips I captured of what I am pretty sure is a Hummingbird Clearwing Moth (Hemaris thysbe) which was feeding on Bee Balm flowers at the wildflower reserve at Raccoon Creek State Park in Hookstown, Pennsylvania. I slowed the clips down so that you can really see the moth. They dart around so quickly, like hummingbirds!

 
  The Hummingbird Clearwing Moth
cmnsns
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Jun 17, 2011

Hemaris thysbe, the Hummingbird Clearwing Moth or Common Clearwing

 
       

 

Camcorder

 
 
Visitor Sightings
 
           
 

Report a sighting of this insect.

 
  This button not working for you?
Simply email us at info@MinnesotaSeasons.com.
Be sure to include a location.
 
  Scott Varland
8/27/2021

Location: Dassel MN.

Moth like hummingbird seen today 8/27/2021 in flower garden In Dassel MN.

 
  Karen
8/5/2021

Location: Minden Township - Benton County (east of Sauk Rapids)

hummingbird clearwing  
  Nanc
7/30/2021

Location: Brooklyn Park, MN

Spotted in my vegetable garden.

hummingbird clearwing  
  Ron Hustvedt
7/19/2021

Location: Ramsey, MN, Anoka County

Didn't get a good photo of it, but sitting on the deck in Ramsey, MM (Anoka County) my son and I just saw one visit our perennial garden, paying special attention to the yellow lillies and coneflowers.

 
  Bobbi Johnson
7/10/2021

Location: Silver Bay, MN

hummingbird clearwing

 
  Alfredo Colon
8/7/2019

Location: Woodbury, Minnesota

hummingbird clearwing  
  Rick Thome
8/7/2020

Location: Independence MN

hummingbird clearwing  
  Chuck Ward
7/29/2020

Location: Washington County

On Perennial Pollinator

hummingbird clearwing  
  Joel Ramsay
6/2/2020

Location: 14 miles north M of New York mills Minnesota

Never seen one before. Just watch 2 of them zipping around on lilacs. I thought it was a mini humming bird. Till it came right in front of me. Beautiful moth.

 
  Pops Anderson
8/16/2019

Location: Mora, MN

Caught 2 feeding on the bergamot plants in our rain garden. One was about 2 inches in length, the other about 1 inch. Tough to get any clear pictures. They move as fast as hummers.

 
  Colin Warren
6/12/2019

Location: Minneapolis, MN

Snacking on some Persian Cat Mint 

hummingbird clearwing  
  Jamie R
8/4 and 8/5/2018

Location: Blaine, MN

flying around Petunia flowers

   
  Jane W
8/4/2018

Location: Shoreview, MN

Feeding on shaded impatiens flowers  

hummingbird clearwing  
  Norm & Peg Dibble
2017

Location: Maple Grove, MN

Sphinx Moth

hummingbird clearwing  
  Bill Reynolds
9/11/2015

Location: Pennington Co MN

Found this Clearwing Hummingbird moth this morning after it spent the night hanging onto a dried thistle bloom.  

hummingbird clearwing  
           
 
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