Ceci n'est pas un colibri


Our buddy at Neatorama posted this over the weekend and I thought we'd add some factlets to it:

Despite appearances, this is not a hummingbird -- it's a moth in a year-round Halloween costume, the "hummingbird hawkmoth." This little guy:

  • can visit 100 flowers in five minutes in search of nectar
  • makes an annual migration across the Alps (if he's from Southern Europe -- the species is found all over the Northern Hemisphere in the summer)
  • hums as he beats his wings, the better to imitate a hummingbird

The HHm has an equally odd relative called the Hummingbird Clearwing Moth -- but the person who submitted the picture after the jump calls it a "lobster bug." Check out why...

clearwing_karen.jpg /

"Last night, after 2 years of desperately trying to describe and/or photograph one, my husband finally caught a glimpse of the mysterious 'Lobster Bug' I have been raving about, and he was able to get a photo of it with his new camera. ... The 'lobster bug' tail was just like a real lobster tail - shaped like an open fan (note the segmented tail, like a lobster tail, even on this one). I don't know why this one is so colorful or brush-like on the tip. ... They're about 1 to 1.5 inches long, so the photos are deceptive. Think moth -- not bird, for size estimates. It's sitting on my butterfly bush, so those masses of flowers beneath it are really quite small. My husband was astounded when he saw it, and I'm just glad to finally have proof. He thought it might be a baby hummingbird because it is sucking nectar, but it is a bug for sure. Look at the legs, and wings. It is not a bird -- of any kind. It's a bug."