snowberry clearwing

(Hemaris diffinis)

               
Hodges #

7855

snowberry clearwing
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not yet assessed

NatureServe

N4N5 - Apparently Secure to Secure

SNR - Unranked

Minnesota

not listed

Occurrence

Common

Flight/Season

Two broods: May to early August

Habitat

Mostly open areas. Overgrown fields, woodland openings, forest edges, streamsides, powerlines, fencerows, gardens.

Photo by Bill Reynolds
Size

Wingspan: 1 to 2

Total Length: to 13 16

 

Identification

This is a common, colorful, small to medium-sized, day-flying sphinx moth. It has a wingspan of 1¼ to 2. It is highly variable in appearance across its range. Fifteen forms have been described.

When the adult first emerges from the cocoon the wings are completely covered with reddish-brown scales. The scales begin to drop off with the first flight, eventually leaving the wings clear except on the margins and along the veins. The forewing is long and narrow with a smooth, slightly convex outer margin. It is mostly transparent except at the base; a thin terminal margin with a usually smooth inner edge; an orange apical spot; an orange stripe along the inner margin; and dark scales outlining each vein making them appear bold. The forewing cell is boldly outlined and undivided. The hindwing is mostly transparent except at the base, a thin terminal margin, and bold veins.

The thorax is golden-yellow on the sides blending to olive-brown or olive-green with a brown dorsal stripe above. The abdomen is mostly blackish. The first 3 abdominal segments are black. On some freshly emerged individuals there are some blue hairs on the first abdominal segment. The fourth and fifth abdominal segments are yellow above and on the sides and black below, forming a broken band. Tufts of long hairs flare outward from the last abdominal segment and look like feathers. There is often with a patch of golden-yellow to golden-brown hairs in the middle.

The head is olive-green or olive-brown above, golden-yellow below. There is a black stripe through the eyes that continues diagonally across the thorax. The antennae are black, thickened, and club-like. The proboscis is long and is coiled under the head when not in use.

The legs are black.

The caterpillar is up to 1¾ long. It is usually bluish-green above and yellowish-green on the sides. Sometimes it is entirely brown. The head, thorax, and abdomen are moderately covered with prominent, minute, white bumps (granules). The head is green. The leading edge of the thorax has a yellow collar covered with prominent yellow granules. A long, curved horn extends from the eighth abdominal segment. The horn is yellow at the base, black from the middle to the tip. The spiracles are outlined with a black spot within a white spot. There is a minute white dot within the black spot above and below each spiracle. The leg-like structures (prolegs) are yellowish-green at the base, black in the middle, and dark brown at the end. Mature caterpillars can be found from June onward.

 
Similar
Species

 


Larval Food

Northern bush-honeysuckle (Diervilla lonicera), honeysuckle (Lonicera spp.), viburnum (Viburnum spp.), elderberry (Sambucus spp.), and other plants in the Caprifoliaceae (Honeysuckle) family; also snowberry (Symphoricarpos) and dogbane (Apocynum spp.).

 
Adult Food

Flower nectar.

 
Life Cycle

Females attract males by releasing pheromones. After mating, she lays spherical green eggs on the underside of host leaves. The eggs hatch in about one week and the caterpillars begin feeding on leaves and fruit of the host plant. They molt five times in four weeks before pupating. The first generation pupates in a cocoon among the leaf litter on the ground. Adults emerge two to four weeks later. The second generation caterpillar burrows into the soil and overwinters as a pupa and emerges in as an adult in May or June.

 
Behavior

Adults fly during the day. They are not attracted to light.

They do not land on a flower but hover next to it while feeding. Sometimes they extend their forelegs into the flower, possibly to taste it.


Distribution Distribution Map  

Sources: 7, 21, 24, 29, 75.


Comments

 


Taxonomy

Order:

Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths)

 

Suborder:

Glossata

 

Infraorder:

Neolepidoptera

 

Parvorder:

Heteroneura

 

No Rank:

Ditrysia

 

No Rank:

Obtectomera

 

Superfamily:

Bombycoidea (hawk-moths)

 

Family:

Sphingidae (hawk moths, sphinx moths, and hornworms)

 

Subfamily:

Macroglossinae

 

Tribe:

Dilophonotini

 
Synonyms

 

 
Common
Names

bumblebee moth

snowberry clearwing


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

proleg

A fleshy structure on the abdomen of some insect larvae that functions as a leg, but lacks the five segments of a true insect leg.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

       

Visitor Photos

   
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Wayne Rasmussen


  snowberry clearwing    

Bill Reynolds


  snowberry clearwing    

       
       

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  snowberry clearwing    
       
       

 

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Slideshows

   
  Snowberry Clearwing Moth
Andree Reno Sanborn
 
  Snowberry Clearwing Moth  
 
About

Hemaris diffinis

a hummingbird moth (sphiinx moth)

 
     
  Snowberry Clearwing (Hemaris diffinis)
Bill Keim
 
  Snowberry Clearwing (Hemaris diffinis)  
     
  Hemaris diffinis (Snowberry Clearwing)
Allen Chartier
 
  Hemaris diffinis (Snowberry Clearwing)  
     
  Hemaris diffinis - Snowberry Clearwing Moth
Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren
 
  Hemaris diffinis - Snowberry Clearwing Moth  
 
About

H. diffinis (Snowberry Clearwing) has black legs, the legs of H. thysbe (Hummingbird Clearwing) are off white to reddish, H. gracilis (Slender Clearwing) does have more maroon colored legs than H. thysbe, but the best character to diagnose H. gracilis is a reddish-brown patch along the side of the thorax where the legs meet the thorax, that coloration carries over into the legs. - Ryan St Laurent on Mothing

 
     

 

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Other Videos

 
  Snowberry Clearwing Moths (Hemaris diffinis)
Mark Berman
 
   
 
About

Published on Aug 18, 2013

Snowberry Clearwind Moths (Hemaris diffinis) nectar feeding on Butterfly Bush (Buddleia davidii) at Chestnut Ridge Metro Park, Ohio. 8-14-13.

 
     
  Hummingbird moth, Hemaris diffinis
JUNPonline
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Jul 13, 2010

Saw at least 4 of them in a small field with flowering weeds within the First Chain Lake area of Halifax, Nova Scotia. Didn't seem to mind my presense as they were practically flying into the camera.

 
     
  Snowberry Clearwing Moth
emchurch
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Jul 13, 2011

No description available.

 
     
  Snowberry Clearwing Caterpillar
ProjectHEALCreekRun
 
   
 
About

Published on Sep 18, 2012

Snowberry Clearwing Caterpillar (Hemaris diffinis). Camp Creek Run, Marlton, NJ. September.

 
     
  Hummingbird Moth July 19
Kimber Beckham
 
   
 
About

Published on Jul 19, 2013

Hummingbird Moth or Snowberry Clearwing (Hemaris Diffinis) (not 100% sure of the identification since I see conflicting IDs online) 7:30 a.m. July 19, Rutland, MA - enjoying an early start to the day getting in his sips of nectar. This is slightly longer better view than I posted to facebook earlier.

 
     

 

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Visitor Sightings

   
Share your sighting of this insect.

Wayne Rasmussen
7/29/2016

Location: Joy Park

snowberry clearwing


Del Fredricks
6/7/2015

Location: 158th Ave NW Ramsey, Mn Anoka county

Observed 4 feeding on Miss Kim lilacs at my home.


Bill Reynolds
7/21/2006

Location: Pennington Co.

snowberry clearwing


     
     
 

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