Moth (Snowberry Clearwing??)
We just bought a house in Alabama and it seems that it has a plethora of unique wildlife. I was out by my pool and there was this strange "bird-bee" foraging through the flowers. I captured one and thought it was a Nessus Sphinx, but it doesn’t have the two distinct lines above the tail. Then I thought it may be the Snowberry Clearwing, but it has a yellow head with a black stripe (vertically) and the yellow appears to go down its back in a "V" shape. It does have clear wings and a "bird like" apearance. I snapped some pictures of it while in the jar, but I fear that none may be suitable for identification purposes. Also, its tail isn’t depictied well in my photos. It has the 3 part tail like the Nessus Sphinx, but that is not visible in the pictures. I also have photographs of a moth that I believe to be the Rustic Sphinx (they were taken in El Paso, TX). I have included those as well. Any help that you may be able to give with the identification of these insects would be appreciated. Thank you!! Great site, by the way!! Very informative!!
(04/23/2006) School Needs Answers
Dear Bugman, I wrote to you earlier and sent in a couple of photographs of what I believed to be the Snowberry Clearwing Moth and also a Rustic Sphinx Moth. I would normally be far more patient than I appear to be at this time, but I have a whole school waiting for your reply. My father-in-law is the principal at Groves Elementary in Texas (I live in Jasper, Alabama which is the origin of the moth) and I gave him the moth when we visited him at Easter. He, in turn, turned it over to his science teachers who are actively awaiting a response from me. I gave him your website info and he informed me that he and his science teachers loved the site and will be using it for future reference. Everyone that I have shared this site with, LOVES it. It is tremendously informative and very well put together. I know that you get several emails every day, but I was just hoping that you could help in this identification as soon as possible. The kids were so excited to have a moth that they have never seen before and now we just need a “name to go with the face”. Thank you so much for any assistance you may be able to give us.
Sorry for the delay, but it is impossible to answer every letter. We found your original letter with the images, and have a vague recollection of opening the first very large file and finding a photo too blurry to identify. We never attempted to open the others and just moved to anothe letter, intending to return when time permitted. Then we were overwhelmed with incoming mail and your letter was relegated to the dead letter file which we occasionally sift through. Your Rustic Sphinx is a correct identification. The Snowberry Clearwing is probably correct, but there are several very similar species as well as much variation within the species. We will say that it is probably a Snowberry Clearwing, but it is at least in the same genus Hemaris.