Hummingbird Moth14 August 2005

Yesterday Sue had Lucy outside a little bit when she called me over upon seeing a strange insect. I had my camera handy and took a sequence of twenty or so photos.

Afterward, Sue identified it as a hummingbird moth (or a hummingbird clearwing moth). The first shot shows the moth hovering over flowers.

Hummingbird clearwing moth

Among its remarkable aspects are being a daytime moth, being somewhat large (about an inch long), and flying just like a hummingbird. It acts just like a hummingbird too, in its preference for nectar. Rather than a long, thin bill, the moth has a long, thin proboscis (that long skinny thing on the left).
Hummingbird moth drinking nectar
  The moth has homed in on the nectar, and the proboscis goes to the heart of the matter.
Hummingbird moth feeding deeply
  So what does any animal do with a proboscis that is longer than its own legs? Why, the hummingbird moth curls it up, not unlike an elephant with a trunk.
Hummingbird moth in flight
  Photography note: The photos were taken with a Pentax *ist D and the SMC-A* 200mm macro lens.  

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