Hemaris diffinis

Photograph by Al Denelsbeck.

Photography contest, Honorable Mention.

Hemaris diffinis – bumblebee moth at butterfly bush. Mr. Denelsbeck writes, "I spotted this one while on the phone, and it was cooperative enough to still be at the bush when I returned with the camera (still on the phone too – headsets are very handy). The butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii) seemed to be almost intoxicating, since I was able to work very close to the various pollinators visiting that day. Bumblebee moths (H. diffinis) and their close relatives hummingbird clearwings (H. thysbe) demonstrate very good examples of aposematic coloration, mimicking less tasty species to avoid predators. They're easy to spot at a distance, however, by knowing a few simple traits. Bumblebees always land on the flower they're feeding from, while Hemaris never do, and true hummingbirds move much faster and dart back and forth. It would seem, however, that predators haven't tumbled to this yet...."