Hummingbird Clearwing Moth

Hemaris thysbe

This colorful hummingbird moth has a wingspan of about 1.75 to 2 inches. It has mostly clear wings with chestnut veins and borders. The thorax is light olive green to brown. The middle segments of the abdomen are chestnut-colored with the remaining lower segments having varying amounts of chestnut. There are white spots at the base of the lower abdominal segments. The end of the abdomen is dark red in the midsection with 2 black tufts on either side. The antennae are black. The legs are light-colored. The larva is lime green with a yellow ridge on the leading edge of the thorax. The body has tiny white dots all over. The sub-dorsal stripe is yellow and the spiracles are orange with a white spot on the top and bottom. The horn is usually blue, but it can be red in younger caterpillars. The larva grows to 2 inches.

This moth is uncommon in this area as it has been seen once at Fontenelle Forest Nature Center nectaring on Snowberry flowers in late July. It flies during the day and can be seen hovering at flowers to drink nectar.

The host plants for the caterpillar are honeysuckle, snowberry and hawthorn. Clearwings pupate in a loose cocoon in fallen leaves.

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