Ed. Note: This arrived at our personal email account with a copy to Julian Donahue
Location: Paso Robles, California
May 10, 2014 7:58 AM
we saw this wonderful creature nectaring on california buckeye in paso robles; and believe we have correctly identified it as a bee moth. do you agree? thank you.
Yep. Hemaris diffinis (Sphingidae), the Bumblebee Moth or Snowberry Clearwing.
Larvae feed on Caprifoliaceae: snowberry (Symphoricarpos) and honeysuckle (Lonicera). Adults on many nectar sources, including cultivated plants like lilac, hence they are frequently seen by the general public.
Thanks for sending your photo of a Snowberry Clearwing. They have really rapidly beating wings, and if you set your camera to a fast shutter speed, like 1/1000 second, you might be able to freeze the movement of the wings.