Hummingbird Hawkmoth Macroglossum stellatarum

Sphingidae » Macroglossinae

Hummingbird Hawkmoth Macroglossum stellatarum

I feel quite privileged to have been able to take these photographs of this splendid hawkmoth. I took them quite a few years ago with my first digital camera purchase, and haven’t been able to capture one in flight and feeding since back then.

A spectacular brightly coloured diurnal moth which can be seen sipping nectar in full sunlight with its extraordinary long proboscis. It looks and sounds like a hummingbird as it feeds from tubular flowers such as Red Valerian, Buddleia, Lilac, and the like. It has a bright orange flashy underwing, and distinct chequer-like markings on the rear of its squat abdomen. Wingspan 40 to 50mm.

The adult flies April to December. Most immigrants arrive in August and September. Occurs anywhere, from coastal regions, woodland rides, parks and gardens. This is a regular migrant to Britain from southern Europe and north Africa which can breed here in hot summers in the south of England. The larva feeds on on Lady’s and Hedge Bedstraw, and Wild Madder.

© Pete Hillman August 2005.

9 thoughts on “Hummingbird Hawkmoth Macroglossum stellatarum

  1. I looked at the photos before reading the text and thought the moth was positioned like a hummingbird so it was really interesting to read your text. Once when my hubbie and I were in LA we were wandering the streets and I was so excited to spot a hummingbird! It was completely unexpected as I’d had no idea where in the world they lived!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was very exciting! I heard it before I saw it. I only had a compact digital camera at the time, my first delve into the digital, so I grabbed it and took a few shots before it flew away. Thank you 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, I love these! The first time I saw a hummingbird hawkmoth was when I was living in Japan. I was biking around the harbour when I saw it out of the corner of my eye feeding in a patch of flowers. I’d never seen a hummingbird before, and I’d never seen a hummingbird hawkmoth. I couldn’t work out what I was seeing! I actually thought it was a hummingbird, but then I noticed its proboscis. What a laugh! It totally made my day :).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. These are so hard to photograph Pete, but you got an excellent shot. We have lots of them here, currently coming to a blue weed in the garden. I love the sound of them as they fly past – such a lovely deep hum! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, I want to come and take some pics of your hawkmoths! I haven’t seen any for some years here. They are fabulous insects, and like you say they hum so good 🙂 Thank you 🙂


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