Hummingbird Moth

Hemaris thysbe

The Hummingbird Moth, unlike most moths, is seen on clear, sunny days. Many people do confuse it with hummingbirds because of its coloration and how it moves.

Hummingbird Moths grow up to two inches long. They have an olive-green body with red bands across their abdomen. Tufts of hairs from the end of the abdomen look a lot like feathers. The wings of this moth are mostly clear, sometimes with some red near the body.

Hummingbird Moths live in fields, gardens, and forest edges.

W. Tracy Parnell

After mating, female moths lay eggs on host plants (food for caterpillars), such as honeysuckle, hawthorns, viburnum, and Black Cherry. The caterpillars which hatch from eggs are yellowish-green with darker green lines and reddish spots on the sides. They also have a yellow tail horn.

When caterpillars are fully grown, they climb down the host plant and into the soil where they make a coccoon and become a pupa (resting stage).

If it is early in the season, the adult moths will hatch in a few weeks. If it is in the Fall, the moths won't come out until the following Spring.

Adult Hummingbird Moths feed on nectar from many different flowers, just like hummingbirds. Some of their favorites include: Japanese Honeysuckle, Red Clover, Highbush Blueberry, thistles, wild roses, and blackberries.

Hummingbird Moths use a long, thin, needle-like mouthpart called a proboscis to eat. The proboscis stays coiled up like a garden hose until it is time to use it. When the moth approaches a flower, it uncoils its proboscis and dips it deep into the flower where the nectar is.

Predators of Hummingbird Moths include birds, mantids, spiders, bats, and other moth- and caterpillar-eaters, although they probably get some protection from looking so much like hummingbirds.

Copyright, Bill Oehkle http://www.silkmoths.bizland.com/hthysbe.htm

Relationships in Nature:

FOOD
PREDATORS
SHELTER
OTHER

Japanese Honeysuckle

Great Crested Flycatcher

Japanese Honeysuckle

Japanese Honeysuckle Po

Black Cherry

Blue Jay

Black Cherry

Bull Thistle Po

Green Hawthorn

Chinese Mantid

Green Hawthorn

Highbush Blueberry Po

Bull Thistle

Goldenrod Spider

Evergreen Blackberry Po

Highbush Blueberry

Red-winged Blackbird

Red Clover Po

Evergreen Blackberry

American Robin

Ruby-throated Hummingbird Mi

Red Clover

Eastern Gray Squirrel

Black-eyed Susan

Northern Cardinal

Wild Turkey

White-breasted Nuthatch

Eastern Box Turtle

Fiery Searcher

Common Black Ground Beetle

Relationship to Humans:

Hummingbirds are helpful as pollinators of flowers. By picking up pollen from one flower, and delivering it to another, these moths enable flowers to turn into fruits with seeds that can make new plants grow. This is good if the plant is desirable, like Highbush Blueberry, but not if the plant is a weed, like Red Clover.

SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION

KINGDOM
Animal
PHYLUM
Arthropod
CLASS
Insect
ORDER
Lepidoptera
FAMILY
Sphingidae
GENUS
Hemaris
SPECIES
Hemaris thysbe

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