Monday, 21 July 2014

Hummingbird Hawk-moth

A hummingbird hawk-moth (Macroglossum stellatarum) feeding on the valerian in my garden.

The first time I saw this moth, I could hardly believe my eyes. It was buzzing like a bee but looked like a tiny bird.
Hummingbird hawk-moths beat their wings at such speed they emit an audible hum. Their name is further derived from their similar feeding patterns to hummingbirds, collecting nectar with their long tongues. A day-flying moth active in both sunny and overcast conditions, hummingbird hawk-moths are strongly attracted to flowers with a plentiful supply of nectar such as honeysuckle, buddleia and as in these photos valerian. 
Difficult to get clear photos because their wings are just a blur.

There were also tortoiseshell butterflies feeding on the valerian, so although somewhat unruly and invasive, it seems a great plant for attracting moths butterflies and other insects such as hoverflies.

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