Bathrobe photography: it’s a moth, not a hummingbird

If you live in North America and you’ve ever found yourself out in the garden in the dusky, crepuscular hours after sunset, you’ve probably encountered something buzzing around your flowers that you might, at first, have mistaken for a late-retiring hummingbird.

White-lined sphinx moth on abelia

This busily-flitting creature certainly behaves something like a hummingbird, with rapidly whirring wings and a tendency to visit the same sorts of nectar-producing blooms. But if you succeed in getting a close look at it (with a flashlight, for instance) you’ll discover it’s a moth: specifically, a white-lined sphinx moth (Hyles lineata).

Going for the bee balm

With a wingspan of 2-3 inches and an elongated body, these are some of the larger moths you’re likely to encounter — and on first encounter you may find yourself somewhat startled by their boldness. They have no problem carrying on their nectaring activities within scant inches of you, if you happen to be standing near a likely food source.

Off to the next big thing (Mexican oregano)

During daylight hours, keep an eye out for another moth of the Sphingidae family: the so-called hummingbird clearwing (Hemaris thysbe) — though personally I find that creature to more resemble a bumblebee (in both behavior and appearance) than a hummer.

Up against the wall, Mexican oregano!


7 thoughts on “Bathrobe photography: it’s a moth, not a hummingbird

  1. As usual, more great shots. I enjoy that your tastes range from the grand expanses of open country down to the small world of a moth. Thanks for sharing your interesting work.

  2. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Movement | small house/BIG GARDEN

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