Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Day 268 - Happily Handsome Hummingbird Hawkmoths

Hummingbird Hawkmoth (Macroglossum stellatarum)

Hey everyone today's Day 268 and 262 days ago, on Day 6, I covered the Hummingbird Hawkmoth and I am going to be completely honest with myself, it wasn't my best post, which is probably why it's only had 43 views. There is some exciting news though, it's back! I've had them visit our garden now for a few years, they feed on our Red Valerian though this year they seem late and almost of the flowers were gone so I was worried they might not be back this year. So I was very happy to see one on Saturday and I got some much better photos of him and, because he was tired, I had one of the most exhilarating experiences in my life. I had a wild Hummingbird Hawkmoth in my hand!
Here its proboscis is wound up

Well, you already know what the post's about so here are the facts:

  • It has an average wingspan of between 40mm-50mm which are very hard to catch in a photo as they use them to hover. You can sort of see them in my photos.
  • The reason they use their wings to hover is so they can feed on their food-plants, feeding through their long proboscis. Like Hummingbirds which is how they get their name.
A bugs eye view
  • Speaking of their food-plants, they like to feed on all things Nectar, in our garden they most like to eat the Red Valerian's Nectar. 
  • They tend to feed in the daytime and apart from Red Valerian they like Aubretia, Buddleia, and Vipers Bugloss. 
  • The caterpillars are as long as the largest wingspan, 50mm. They are also very colourful. 
It had a rest on the pavement outside out house
  • Caterpillar foodplants tend to be Ladys Bedstraw, Hedge Bedstraw and Wild Madder but they have also been seen laying eggs on Red Valerian....I wonder if mine have laid eggs....
  • They are Green or Red-Brown with White dots and White, Dark and Yellow Horizontal Stripes along with a Blue horn which has a Yellow-tip.
  • They are found all over the UK apart from The Republic of Ireland and there have only been one or two in the North of Ireland and are less common the further North you go.
  • It seems they are mainly migrant moths but increasingly they may be breeding in the UK
I moved it so it wouldn't get trodden on!
  • They live in basically any places that has their food-plants such as as Parks and Gardens, Woodlands, Coastal, Farmland and Grassland.
  • They are found between May and September officially but they are most common between June and September.
Here are some links to some more information:

Hope you enjoyed,



  1. Wonderful things, snapped one one some valerian near here last month. You're shots are much better.

  2. Lovely set of photos Zach and what a sweet moment being able to hold him too! - Tasha