Hummingbird Moths

August 24, 2016

Hummingbird Moths

August 24, 2016
Posted in: Nature | Reading Time: 2 minutes

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White-lined Sphinx Hummingbird Moth (Hyles lineata) of the Sphingidae family. One of the largest flying insects with a wingspan of  2-8 inches and length of 2.5-3.5 inches. They are large enough to scare the bejesus out of you if you didn't know just how harmless these shy guys are! Hummingbird moths emerge at dusk from their hiding places and pollinate and feed on the nectar of flowers such as evening primrose, petunias or orchids. The rapid beat of their wings is so fast they are almost invisible and sound like a low hum, which allows them to hover and feed just like hummingbirds, for which they are sometimes mistaken. Some speculate that their rapid wing beating is a mimicry of hummingbirds in order to avoid predation. (Nobody like to mess with a bad-ass hummingbird.)  Unlike a hummingbird, they feed like a butterfly with a long proboscis that gets furled up when not feeding.  We've been blessed to see them nightly feeding on our verbena. These little fellas are shy and difficult to shoot. Talk about dumb luck, I had to shoot manual focus in almost dark conditions. This one was nice enough to put up with a flash in his face while trying to get a quiet bite out for dinner.

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