Hummingbird Clearwing Moth

Name this bug! : )
Loved your site, very helpful. 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. It is amazing in the photos, so I am sending you two shots. (They’re big). The weird thing is, this one is quite colorful, while the one I caught last summer was just shades of gray and dark gray, with no colors at all, and the end of 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. Maybe it’s a male/female thing, like birds, etc, one bright, one dull? This red one seems a bit furry, too, compared to my gray one. I found photos online that said it was "Hemaris gracilis", but I wonder if the gray one I caught last year was, too. Do they have a female gray version? (Or male). My gray one was a bit smaller, too, I think. I hope you like the shots and can use them on your page. 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. Please let me know if you can tell me anything about the gray one. We’ve lived here in Southern New Hampshire for 5 years, and I’ve only seen one gray one, and one colored one, so they’re not common, and I’d like to know if they’re the same bug.
Thank you in advance,
Karen Malnati

Hi Karen,
Your husband’s images of the Hummingbird Clearwing, Hemaris thysbe, are pretty amazing. The gray moth you describe is probably another species of Sphinx Moth or Hawk Moth, Family Sphingidae.

4 thoughts on “Hummingbird Clearwing Moth”

  1. East Tennessee has them in a brown and yellow bee like markings. The family has always thought that they were a variety of Tobacco Hawk Moth.

  2. Just saw one today for the first time drinking nectar from my Bee Balm plants! Have never seen one before in my life and looked it up and happened upon this site. I live in the North Georgia mountains. So cool to discover something I’ve never seen before!

  3. I had just seen this on our weather network and was intrigued. Then couple days later after big rain one was in my driveway by a tire. One wing very wet. So I put it on a paper and took to drier garden area. They are amazing looking.


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