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.Click thumbnail to view full-size
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.