Hummingbird hawk-moths

I’ve grown fond of a pair of hummingbird hawk-moths that make twilight trysts to our garden. They’re quite a sight, as their wings beat (vibrate) at such a rate that they are almost invisible… if that’s not a contradiction! In fact, the only way I was able to see what they actually look like was to take a photo.

Hummingbird hawk-moth on Laurentia 'Indigo Stars'

Hummingbird hawk-moth on Laurentia ‘Indigo Stars’

One managed to fly into my kitchen – pretty scary as it darted around at speed knocking into surfaces – and then it disappeared, only to re-emerge three days later, flying slow enough for me to catch it and release it outside. Though it was interesting to see the moth up close, I didn’t take any more photos. I was just relieved it had survived, and the goal was to set it free.

These moths are always on our Laurentia ‘Indigo Stars’ plant – and I’ve read that they prefer flowers on the blue/purple colour spectrum. Why, I wonder? The hummingbird hawk-moths I see are probably always the same ones, as this website (http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/life/Macroglossum_stellatarum) says that they return to the same flowerbeds at the same time of day because they have a good memory. They emigrate from southern Europe and North Africa to the UK, and use their long proboscis (seen curled up in the picture above) to eat nectar from plants such as buddleia and honeysuckle while hovering in mid-air. Allegedly they are sometimes mistaken for actual hummingbirds, but I really don’t see how, unless there are larger ones out there…

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3 thoughts on “Hummingbird hawk-moths

  1. Pingback: Invasion of the Great Impersonators | In Da Campo

  2. Pingback: White-lined Sphinx (Hummingbird) Moth | Becoming is Superior to Being

  3. Pingback: Hummingbird hawk-moth video | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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