Wednesday, April 12, 2006


So yesterday evening the PP and I were heading out to a reading at a bar in town, and while I was waiting for him to come out of the house, I was standing there looking at my azaleas.

My azaleas, as will come as no surprise to you, look like this:

So I'm standing there, looking at them and at the bumblebees who are doing their Flight-Of-The thing around the blossoms, and then I see something that initially is playing along with the "I'm a Bumblebee" routine, but the more I look, the more I see that it is not. It almost looks like a hummingbird, but smaller--very different body shape from the bees. But with a distinctly striped tail. And hummingbirds don't have antennae. And then, when it flew away, it buzzed close to my head, and I could tell that its buzz had a very different pitch from that of the bumblebees.

I've been wondering since then, what in the world this could be.

Turns out that a call to my mother was all I needed. I had barely launched into my description of the miraculous creature I had seen in my garden, when she said, "Oh. That's a hummingbird moth."

Of course.

Specifically, it was a Snowberry Clearwing Hummingbird Moth. Here is what it looks like when its wings are not humming:

That photo comes from this page, where you can also see a photographic narrative of its life cycle. Here is an even cooler photo narrative of the emergence of a White-Lined Sphinx Hummingbird Moth.


Joe said...

1) Nice azaleas! What are you feeding them?
2) Freakish looking moth!
3) A reading? Do you mean a poetry reading? How was it?

Isis said...

1. Thanks! Actually I forgot to feed them this year, but but but there are lots of pine needles that we put around them (they love acid) when we last cleaned out the gutters and off the roof.

2. Yeah, it was fiction, but same idea. Mixed: a little hard to hear, because they started off with no mike, so I only caught about 3/5 of the first story. Second one very interesting and cool and surprising.