Bumblebee Moth

Subject: Moth or bee?
Location: Brandon , Mississippi
September 3, 2016 4:34 pm
I tried identifying this insect and can’t find a pic of anything that looks like this. I thought it was a moth but then then it sort of looks like a bee too. Any ideas? Thank you.
Signature: Deb Pittman

Bumblebee Moth
Bumblebee Moth

Dear Deb,
Because it is a moth that mimics a bee, the Snowberry Clearwing,
Macroglossa diffinis, is commonly called a Bumblebee Moth.  According to Sphingidae of the Americas:  “Hemaris diffinis is a very variable species, but almost always the abdomen sports contrasting black and yellow hairs, the ventral surface being quite black. The legs also tend to be quite dark and there is a black mask running across the eye and along the sides of the thorax.  Adults mimic bumblebees and are quite variable, both geographically and seasonally. The wings are basically clear, with dark brown to brownish-orange veins, bases and edges. The thorax is golden-brown to dark greenish-brown. The abdomen tends to be dark (black) with 1-2 yellow segments just before the terminal end. These yellow segments are in much sharper contrast to the rest of the abdomen than in somewhat similar species. Also note the relatively narrow dark outer margin of the hindwing. Most fresh specimens also have some blue ‘fur’ tufts highlighting the first black band on the abdomen.”

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