Watch this video in full-screen, 720p mode. The Hummingbird Moth is difficult to see at first, but it comes closer during the second minute of the clip.
The first time I saw one of these, my mind briefly went into a strange Twilight Zone mode because I couldn’t place the creature in either the insect or the hummingbird category. It seemed otherworldly.
But of course it is an insect — Hemaris thysbe — also known as the Hummingbird Clearwing moth or Snowberry Clearwing moth, one of hundreds of species of “sphinx moth,” “hawk moth,” and hornworms in the Sphingidae family.
This hummingbird moth flies during the day, feeding on nectar from a wide variety of flowers — in this case the lavender blossoms in our backyard raised bed.
It began life as a type of hornworm caterpillar that looks fairly similar to a Tobacco Hornworm, but which feeds on Honeysuckle, snowberry, hawthorns, cherries and plums rather than tobacco and tomatoes.