Friday, September 02, 2005

Welcome Clearwing!

Just as I was about to give up the clearwing moth for the season, a day or two ago I finally saw the first one this year. I wish I had paid more attention to the field marks of clearwing visitors to the garden in previous years. This one seems bigger than I remember (almost the size of a hummingbird--could that be right?), and a different colour.



I think that this is a snowberry clearwing (Haemorrhagia axillaris*)--less pigment in the wings than some other hummingbird clearwings. What's that Bug? has a long page devoted to clearwing moths including a number of images of the various hummingbird moths, of which the snowberry is one.



*Added later: "Haemorrhagia" may be some wierd variant spelling of Hemaris--I found a site that explained something about the difference between the pronounciation and spelling of this genus name, then lost it again in cyberspace. Additional research has lead me to think that this may actually be Hemaris diffinis--see comments.

Later still: Hemaris thysbe it was. See the post:Hemaris Thysbe

3 comments:

tony g said...

Hi Pamela,

i think your is going to be a Hummingbird Clearwing, Hemaris thysbe. I base that on the heavyset body and the extent of dark markings in the wing. The range may help you ID it.

There are four possibilities in the U.S. Here is the USGS page, fairly comprehensive and authoritative:
http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/distr/lepid/moths/thumb/64.htm
click on the pictures to bring up range info etc.

here are the moth photographers pages; very comprehensive and authoritative and high quality pics:
http://mothphotographersgroup.msstate.edu/Files/Live/Species/7000/7853.shtml
http://mothphotographersgroup.msstate.edu/Files/Live/Species/7000/7854.shtml
http://mothphotographersgroup.msstate.edu/Files/Live/Species/7000/7855.shtml
no photos here of H. senta

TroutGrrrl said...

Yours looks like the one we had here - I called it a Hemaris thysbe at the time. We've had a few recently that I can't yet identify. I'll post pictures and maybe someone can help...

Pamela Martin said...

Thanks Tony and troutgrrrl--I followed your leads and I now think it is possibly a Hemaris diffinis, or something like that. Both thysbe and diffinis range across the continent--though that's no help, but diffinis has a paler band on the abdomen, as my visitor had. Also I didn't get the impression that the edging on the wings was red at all--but instead black. And less heavy than for example these thysbes. All the pictures I've found on the 'net are different in detail from all others though. Insects!!

Troutgrrrl, thanks for the reminder of your clearwing--I knew I'd seen one on a blog this summer, but couldn't remember where!