Clear Wing Hummingbird Moth [Hemaris Thysbe] with video and pictures

Greeting A Clearwing Hummingbird Moth

Sitting on my patio this summer, I was greeted by an unexpected visitor. While my children played in the backyard, I was engrossed in reading a book when out of the corner of my eye I saw a quick zip of a small bird, or so I thought. As I watched this interesting creature it looked as though it was a hummingbird but I was certain it was not. Although the actions mimicked a hummingbird with the quick movement from flower to flower and the striking similarities of the body suggested a hummingbird, there were some features that were quite contrary. Not only did it have antennae, but the green color was almost fur like and definitely not feathers. Knowing that all birds have feathers and beaks, I wondered what this bug like creature could be. It also had six thin legs, an emerald green abdomen, and a striped thorax. These characteristics obviously suggested an insect, but still I was perplexed by this unique creature that was drinking in the nectar of my flowers. I ran inside to get my camera and snapped a few photos but it’s speed made taking them a little challenging. Unfortunately I couldn’t immediately locate my video camera and was disappointed that I would not capture the beautiful movement of my newly discovered creature.

Is it a Nectar Bug?

As I shared the photos of my discovery with my mom who was in town visiting, my niece and nephew, and some neighbor kids, I commented that I really had no idea what it was. I had never seen anything like this in all of my years of living in Michigan. We all remarked at the striking resemblance that it had to a hummingbird but as my niece so readily commented that it looked almost like part lobster. One of the girls in my neighborhood said, “I know what it is.”

“You do?” I questioned. “What is it?”

“Yes, it’s a nectar bug.” She replied. Hmmm…awfully simplistic I thought, but since that’s all I have to go on, I guess I’ll check it out. So as I did a search, I discovered that she was almost right on. For in my search, the first thing that popped up was a picture of the mysterious creature that had graced my patio that afternoon. She was right! It was indeed a “bug” that sipped nectar but one with a specific title. It was a Clear Winged Hummingbird Moth. Well of course! A Clear Winged Hummingbird Moth makes perfect sense. It has clear wings, resembles a ruby throated hummingbird and moves quickly from flower to flower just as a hummingbird would.

This fascinating moth decided that it wanted to be the star of my show and came back for another visit the next day. I had located my video camera the evening before just in case it decided on a return visit. As I videoed its beauty and quick movement, I sat in awe of this new found creature wondering how I had never seen one before.

Photos of our "nectar bug" sipping some nectar.

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Hemaris thysbe

The Clear Winged Hummingbird Moth is also known as Hemaris thysbe. It is often found in the eastern part of the United States and north into Canada. It has a wing span of 38-50 mm. It enjoys sipping the nectar of flowers and quickly moves from one flower to another just as a hummingbird would. Although most moths are considered nocturnal and are only viewed during the night hours, the Clear Winged Hummingbird Moth is diurnal and is active in the daytime hours just as hummingbirds are. This is the reason that they are often mistaken for a hummingbird.

I wonder if this amazing creature will honor me with its presence next summer as I enjoy the sunshine and beauty of my flowers. If it does not, I know I will always have the video to remind me of my discovery on that summer afternoon. I hope you enjoy watching this Clear Winged Hummingbird Moth as much as my family and I did.

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Comments 59 comments

Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina

Oh my gosh, Cara-this is a fabulous hub! I recalled that afternoon and your video so wonderfully captures this. It's amazing that it stayed so long! I remember thinking that it would fly off as you were filming it, and it just went on and on, oblivious of your presence.

I'm hoping this gets selected for a hub of the day...EVERYONE needs to watch this. I'm in awe of this creature, and as you have already stated, have lived in MI for most of my life and NEVER do I recall seeing one of those. You must have some yummy flowers! Thank you so much for sharing this. I had completely forgotten about this little visitor and the flowers are a nice change from the winter rain we've been getting here.


cardelean profile image

cardelean 5 years ago from Michigan Author

Thanks Mom! It was fun to remember such a warm and sunny afternoon amidst all of this wintery weather we are receiving. Glad is was a nice reminder for you too!


cpa profile image

cpa 5 years ago from Brooklyn, NY

Really amazing - these are the events that make us appreciate the beauty of the world around us. Great hub !


LindaSmith1 profile image

LindaSmith1 5 years ago from USA

Hummingbirds are so amazing.


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

You did a great job with the video--hummingbirds are so quick! I've never seen this kind, but have often wished I could video the ones we have. Now you've inspired me to try harder. Thanks for sharing this beautiful creature!


Cresentmoon2007 profile image

Cresentmoon2007 5 years ago from Caledonia, MI

Wonderful video and great hub. Voted up.


healingsword profile image

healingsword 5 years ago from California

Hi Cardelean,

This is a lovely Hub with fantastic, intimate video footage of the Hummingbird Moth. It seems to be aware that you are filming it and happy to oblige you despite remaining guarded. Beautiful!


Robin profile image

Robin 5 years ago from San Francisco

Wow, what an amazing creature! I have never seen or heard of them before and we definitely don't have them in California. Your video was fantastic! Thanks for the great Hub! I love learning about new and intriguing animals!


livelonger profile image

livelonger 5 years ago from San Francisco

Stunning! I'll be honest...I wasn't quite sure what I was looking at when looking at your video & pictures. I reread the title of your Hub and finally got it. Looks like a hybrid creature! Great footage, and I love the accompanying music - it fits perfectly.


Frannie Dee profile image

Frannie Dee 5 years ago from Chicago Northwest Suburb

As temperatures are dropping daily in Chicagoland, your charming video of the hummingbird moth brought me in touch with nature once again. Thank you for sharing this intimate time with your little friend.


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden

Fantastic video and thanks for sharing that afternoon. I have never seen anything like it! You did a great job with the music too. Beautiful! voted up,

Tina


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina

I had to come back and show J and Glen the video. Amazing that you were able to capture its 'flight' for so long. Oh...and I must have been sleeping - I forgot to look at the beautiful photos you posted. :) Cheers.


cardelean profile image

cardelean 5 years ago from Michigan Author

I totally agree cpa and I'm trying to take more notice of them. Thanks so much for stopping by.

Linda Smith1, hummingbirds are amazing. However what fascinated me about this creature is that it's actually a moth and NOT a hummingbird. Thanks for reading and commenting.


cardelean profile image

cardelean 5 years ago from Michigan Author

Thanks RT. It was tough to keep up with it! It's not actually a hummingbird though, it is a moth. It was the first time I had ever seen one like this which is why it really confused me. I appreciate your visit!

Thanks Cresentmoon2007, glad you enjoyed it.


cardelean profile image

cardelean 5 years ago from Michigan Author

I thought the same thing healingsword. It appeared one day and I couldn't get the video, then came back the next day. Once I got the video, it disappeared for the summer. It was really cool and I hope it comes back next summer.

I hadn't heard of them before this discovery either Robin. It was really amazing to watch and I was shocked that even with the noise of the kids it stuck around. BTW, I love the new profile pic!


cardelean profile image

cardelean 5 years ago from Michigan Author

I felt the same way when I first saw it livelonger. I know that it is not a "new" insect but I sort of felt how scientists must feel when a new species is discovered. Glad you enjoyed the video and music. Thanks for your comment.

I feel the same way over here in the Detroit area Frannie Dee. I think we all needed a little blast of summer right now. Glad you enjoyed it.


cardelean profile image

cardelean 5 years ago from Michigan Author

I'm so glad you enjoyed the video and music thoughtforce. It was an enjoyable afternoon and it was great to relive it on a winter day. Thanks for your visit and comment.

I'm glad you shared it with Glen and J Mom. It was really neat that it hung around for so long.


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Wow, great close up photos and video! Thanks for sharing your experience.


cardelean profile image

cardelean 5 years ago from Michigan Author

You're welcome randomcreative. Glad you enjoyed it.


sofs profile image

sofs 5 years ago

Wow that is so amazing..I have never seen something like this ever before.. what a special visit and I am glad that you could film this and share it with us.. voting it up all the way :)


cardelean profile image

cardelean 5 years ago from Michigan Author

Thanks sofs, we were just as amazed when we saw it. Thanks for the visit and the votes up!


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 5 years ago from South Carolina

What an awesome hub about a creature I've never seen but will have to be on the look-out for in the future. Your photos were awesome but I didn't see a video in this hub. Did you remove it?

I love the way a local child was the one to set you on the right path to discovering the name of this fascinating moth.

Voted up, useful, awesome, beautiful and interesting.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 5 years ago from North America

Amazing video - I've only seen one other of these creatures!


cardelean profile image

cardelean 5 years ago from Michigan Author

Glad you learned something Gail. No I didn't remove it. It may be the browser that you are using. I just checked in firefox and I can see it but not in internet explorer. What browser are you using? I'd like to notify HP tech to let them know. Thanks for the visit and letting me know about the problem!


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 5 years ago from South Carolina

Internet Explorer and yours wasn't the first issue I've seen today. I was just reading Simone's latest hub and couldn't see the lead photo so I made a comment of it in her hub. Didn't official report the problem to HP headquarters though. Glad you are going to do so.


LindaSmith1 profile image

LindaSmith1 5 years ago from USA

Just for curioisty I checked hub and no video seen but the photos are. I run on Internet Explorer. I don't remember if I saw video yesterday or not.


cardelean profile image

cardelean 5 years ago from Michigan Author

Very cool Patty! I had never seen one up until this point. My understanding is that they are very sensitive to noise which is why I was so surprised that it hung around with all of the kids around. I really think it had a calling to be a star!


cardelean profile image

cardelean 5 years ago from Michigan Author

Thanks Gail and LS1. I sent the info over to HP, I appreciate your feedback.


cardelean profile image

cardelean 4 years ago from Michigan Author

For those of you who use Internet Explorer and could not previously view the video, the problem has been fixed so you should now be able to see it!


natures47friend profile image

natures47friend 4 years ago from Sunny Art Deco Napier, New Zealand.

Amazing .....loved the video...what a cute insect....voted up and awesome... keep writing about more insects...


cardelean profile image

cardelean 4 years ago from Michigan Author

It was amazing natures47friend. I could have sat there all day watching it. I'm not sure how many more insects I will be writing about, I have to say that this was a first for me! But you never know what the future holds. Thanks for your comments.


Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 4 years ago from Illinois

Cool that you were able to capture this on video! I've never heard of this insect either. Voted up and interesting


cardelean profile image

cardelean 4 years ago from Michigan Author

It was awesome and I really hope that it comes back this summer.


mythicalstorm273 profile image

mythicalstorm273 4 years ago

I have never heard of anything like this. Your story was so interesting! I was just fascinated by this hummingbird like creature! I wish I could see one in real life! Your pictures and video did wonders to show the hummingbird, but there is just no replacement for actually seeing it. This was just amazing! Great hub!


cardelean profile image

cardelean 4 years ago from Michigan Author

Thanks mythicalstorm273! It was such a surprise and incredible experience. I had never heard of nor seen one before that day. I really hope that it comes back to visit us again this year. Thanks so much for your visit. :)


Scribenet profile image

Scribenet 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Cardelean...I saw one several weeks back and my camera was nowhere near! We couldn't figure what it was since it was also the first time this critter was seen....Was it a tiny hummingbird or an insect?

Finally we decided it had to be an insect (antennae).

The one I saw has orange and dark brown stripes on the lower abdomen and a reddish spot just above the tail...totally fascinating!

Thank you for this Hub...now I have the answer! Great Video!


cardelean profile image

cardelean 4 years ago from Michigan Author

You are *so* welcome Scribenet. It sounds very similar to what my experience was. We have not yet had the good fortune to have our little friend visit us yet this summer. I'm wondering if maybe it has just been too hot. Hope that your friend comes around to visit again!


Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA

Your video and article was fascinating! I don't think I've ever seen a hummingbird moth, but maybe that's because I haven't really looked hard enough. It's amazing what we will see if we just sit still and observe the nature around us. Thanks for a lovely hub! Voted up and tweeted.


moonlake profile image

moonlake 4 years ago from America

Beautiful great video. We had one on our deck there were flowers on the table in front of us and he was on the flowers. I had my camera but just was not fast enough to get his picture. Voted up and shared.


belleart profile image

belleart 4 years ago from Ireland

I cannot believe it! My boyfriend and I saw one of these about a year ago and couldnt for the life of us figure out what it was. I searched flying beetles and everything but couldn't find anything that looked like it!

I cant wait to tell my boyfriend!!


mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida

What a beautiful video you did on this amazing Moth. A delightful Hub, and I voted it UP, etc. and will share, too.


Rusticliving profile image

Rusticliving 4 years ago from California

Wow Cara, absolutely wonderful! I have never heard of a hummingbird moth! Your video was a great capture. So happy you shared this with us!

Caused me to have a happy day! :) Lisa


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 4 years ago from Texas

I saw one of these in my garden and it had me perplexed for a while as to what it was. You caught it so well in your pics!


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

I live in the south and this summer is the first time I have ever seen one and now I have seen two more not as pretty maybe as this one (which is like the first I ever saw this summer) but I am sure the same thing. Ones body I have preserving for I found it in my garden in water and it died a couple hours later. You have fantastic video! Great job.


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

I saw one of little buggers, here, too.It loved my Gerber daises. Such a cool little creature, and your info about them is awesome. Cool video, nice to see you Cardelean!


cardelean profile image

cardelean 4 years ago from Michigan Author

Last summer was the first time we'd ever seen one Stephanie and we haven't seen one at all this year. I agree with you, the more still we can be, the more that we will discover. Thanks so much for your visit, votes up and tweet!


cardelean profile image

cardelean 4 years ago from Michigan Author

It took me several days and visits from this creature for me to get some good pics and video. Luckily he seemed to want to be a part of my show just as much as I wanted him to be! So glad to have you stop by and visit moonlake and I appreciate the share.


cardelean profile image

cardelean 4 years ago from Michigan Author

That is so funny belleart! It was quite a journey for me finding what it was, thankfully my little neighbor had some idea and I was able to learn more about it. Thanks for sharing your story!


konrel 4 years ago

This is an adorable moth. You sure have some good pictures of it.


cardelean profile image

cardelean 4 years ago from Michigan Author

Awww, thanks Mary615. I appreciate your visit and share.


cardelean profile image

cardelean 4 years ago from Michigan Author

I hadn't heard of one before that day either Rusticliving. I'm so glad that you enjoyed it and that it brightened your day.


cardelean profile image

cardelean 4 years ago from Michigan Author

I'm glad that you learned something from this homestead bound. I like you was very perplexed when it first showed itself to me. Thanks for your visit!


cardelean profile image

cardelean 4 years ago from Michigan Author

That's so neat that you found one to preserve. That's something that I would have done to share with my students! :) I'm glad you enjoyed the video.


cardelean profile image

cardelean 4 years ago from Michigan Author

It's so nice to have you stop by Rebecca. Now that I have 'found' this little bugger as you said, I find myself keeping my eyes peeled for another one. Unfortunately I haven't seen one this summer.


cardelean profile image

cardelean 4 years ago from Michigan Author

Thanks konrel. It was very cooperative with me so that I could take some pics! Glad you enjoyed it.


Docmo profile image

Docmo 4 years ago from UK

I've never heard of this beautiful creature. Your video and pictures are awesome. This is such a beautiful visitation and I'm delighted you are abel to share it with us, Cara. wonderful!


Pat Johnson 3 years ago

Saw several late in the afternoon last summer.never seen them before.Looked like a cross between a bumblebee and a hummimgbird.So glad to find out they are called clear winged bummingbird moth.


T Jones-Clark 3 years ago

I saw one of these creatures today for the first time ever. My husband noticed it outside of our kitchen window in the flower garden and thought t was a tiny hummingbird. It had just started to rain, and even when it started coming in a downpour, the little creature kept right on sipping at every little blossom! It lingered longer than any hummingbird I'd ever seen (at least a full 3 or 4 minutes) and I saw that its body was striped, it had antennae, and it appeared to have two pairs of wings. I found your post by typing 4-winged, striped body, nectar drinking into the search box!


EZ Swim Fitness profile image

EZ Swim Fitness 3 years ago from Southern Wisconsin

Fascinating! We have two visiting and for some reason they ignore all the flowers with the exception of deep purple. I always see the hummingbird nector feeders and those in red/orange. Any suggestions for me for next year on what colors are best? They are such a delight!

I do hope to attract the ruby throated humming bird next year. I have no feeders out but have read I need to attract them one week before they return to my specific area so I am planning today.

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