Sunday, August 15, 2010

Moths masquerading as birds and bees and beetles

Ailanthus Webworm Moth on hydrangea at FBGA's wildlife area.

I never would have guessed that what looked like some kind of orange and white spotted beetle was actually a moth that likes to sit with its wings folded in on itself. But thanks to the internet, I was able to quickly find lots of pictures and information about this webworm moth and feel relatively confident that I have identified it correctly.

The other great sighting yesterday was hummingbird moths. One looks like a giant bee except that it hovers like a hummingbird while seeming to sip nectar from flowers. Again, thanks to the internet, I feel confident that I saw the Snowberry Clearwing (Hemaris diffinis) and the Hummingbird Clearwing (Hemaris thysbe) at Floyd Bennett yesterday. They were feeding on the Butterfly Bushes and my Verbena bonariensis. I tried to catch them with my camera set on sports function, but those moths are so fast, especially their wings which don't stop flapping. Maybe they will be out again today and I'll have better luck.

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