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Free images -  Insects - Clearwing Sphinx Moth

Note on large files:  Very large files may be bigger than your screen.  
Right click on any portion of the image showing and chose "save as".  

 

 

I was photographing plants in Northern Ontario this spring and much to my surprise, flitting about I noticed a strange looking “fuzzy” bee.  It behaved like a bee, in that it was busy collecting nectar, but it somehow reminded me of a hummingbird.  Camera in hand, I quickly trampled through the flowers trying to capture an image of this strange foreign insect before it moved away from me.  It moved with such haste, darting from flower to flower, its wings were just a blur with movement.  Reviewing my images at home, I was saddened to see that I had captured only a blur of the tiny specimen. 

A few weeks later I found myself at Grundy Lake Provincial Park in Northern Ontario trying to focus in on a lovely specimen of Yellow Hawkweed.  The windy conditions had been making this morning’s picture expedition difficult, but a gentle calm had just come upon the wildflower field I was trying to capture.  Just as I was about to click the shutter, to my amazement, onto the flower, in perfect focus, flew that same strange fuzzy bee!

I spent considerable time Googling various terms to try to identify this specimen I knew nothing about and in my 52 years had never seen before.  Inputting “fuzzy bee” will result in a wide array of beautiful images of regular honey bees.  This didn’t look anything like a regular bee.  What I did find were articles on bee mimics, fuzzy beetles, and literature about just about every type of bee and wasp one would want to know about.  Quite honestly, I don’t even recall exactly how I did find the one notation that solved my identification problem.  I happened to find a blog conversation on a gardening site where someone made a comment about a strange looking bee with hummingbird-like wings.

It turns out, that my new insect discovery, was in fact not a bee at all, but a moth!   A Clearwing Sphinx Moth [Hemaris thysbe] to be exact!

 

Moths

Butterfly or Moth?  What's the difference?

There is no taxonomic difference between butterflies and moths since both are classified in the order Lepidoptera which includes more than 100 families of insects.  There are, however, differences in physical and behavioral characteristics.

Butterfly

Moth
Body - thin, hairless   fat abdomens & fuzzy
Antennae - have knobs at end of feelers  thin & plain or feathery
Colour - colourful wings drab-coloured wings (generally)
Wings while resting - held up above bodies held flat against body 
Pupal Stage - chrysalis    cocoon
Activity -  during the day during the night

 

 

Clearwing sphinx moth drawing nectar from yellow Hawkweed flower.

Clearwing Sphinx Moth drawing nectar from a yellow Hawkweed Plant - 5.
Photographed in Northern Ontario.

Medium - 640 x 480  Right click on above image and chose "save as".

Large - 2712 x 2030 -  Still free, but now only available by email request.

 

Breaking all the rules above, this is the Clearwing Sphinx Moth in the Hemaris genus which looks nothing like a butterfly.  They are also known as Hummingbird Moths since they are often mistake for Hummingbirds or fuzzy bees.  Clearwing Hummingbird Moths are active during the day.  They are difficult to photograph because, just like a Hummingbird, their wings are always in motion.

This beautiful specimen flew into view as I was focusing on the Hawkweed Plant.  Rare to find, here he was !

 

Clearwing sphinx moth beside yellow Hawkweed plant.

Clearwing Sphinx Moth drawing nectar from a yellow Hawkweed Plant -1.
Photographed in Northern Ontario.

Medium - 640 x 480  Right click on above image and chose "save as".

Large - 3846 x 2885 - Still free, but now only available by email request.

 

 

Clearwing sphinx moth looks like a bee.

Clearwing Sphinx Moth drawing nectar from a yellow Hawkweed Plant -2.
Photographed in Northern Ontario.

Medium - 640 x 480  Right click on above image and chose "save as".

Large - 3965 x 2974 - Still free, but now only available by email request.

 

 

Clearwing sphinx moth near yellow Hawkweed plant.

Clearwing Sphinx Moth drawing nectar from a yellow Hawkweed Plant -3.
Photographed in Northern Ontario.

Medium - 640 x 480  Right click on above image and chose "save as".

Large - 4608 x 3456 - Still free, but now only available by email request.

 

 

Clearwing sphinx moth standing on yellow Hawkeed plant.

Clearwing Sphinx Moth drawing nectar from a yellow Hawkweed Plant - 4.
Photographed in Northern Ontario.

Medium - 640 x 480  Right click on above image and chose "save as".

Large - 3131 x 2349 - Still free, but now only available by email request.

 

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If you'd like to drop me a note to let me know if any of these images have been useful, I'd love to hear from you. I'm curious to see if my snapshots have been of benefit to you in some way.  Also, I'd like to hear what kind of images you'd like to see more of. 

 

 


 

Are You Baffled 
by Bugs ?

Did you know...

That all insects are bugs, but not all bugs are insects!

 


"I dreamed
 I was a butterfly,
 flitting around 
in the sky; 
then I awoke.  
Now I wonder:  
Am I a man 
who dreamt 
of being a butterfly, 
or am I a butterfly
dreaming 
that I am a man?"

~ Chuang Tse ~
Chinese philosopher

 

Insects have 3 body parts:  a head, thorax and abdomen.  They also have six legs and two antennae.

Spiders and Scorpions have eight legs and are not considered insects!

 

According to some sources, the total number of insect species is somewhere between 15 and 30 million!

There are 900,000 known species in the world.

 

Insane About Insects ?

 

Did you know...

Scorpions can live for more than one year without eating!

 

Mosquitoes have 47 teeth, but only the female mosquitoe bites using it's proboscis.

Fireflies, sometimes called Lightningbugs, are not true bugs or flies.  They are beetles!

Every year, insects eat about one third of the world's food crops.

Only male crickets can chirp.  They will chirp faster in warm weather.  

Most insects hatch from eggs.

The average bed contains 2-6 million dust mites!

 

Are You An Enthusiastic
Entomologist ?

Did you know...

Every year, the average person eats several insects while sleeping.  

Insects breath through a complicated network of air tubes called tracheae that open along the sides of the insects body.

Nearly all insect growth involves metamorphosis.

The average housefly lives only two weeks!

A female ladybug lays about 1000 eggs in her lifetime.

Honeybees fly at a speed of 13-15 mph.

Even though spiders have eight eyes, they still can't see very well.

A cockroach can live up to 9 days without its head!

 

 

 

 

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