THE HUMMINGBIRD HAWK MOTH




Strange but true, the Hummingbird Hawk Moth is one of nature's most incorrectly identified creatures and why wouldn't it be? Incredible manoeuvrability, able to hover fixed in space, and all the while emitting a bustling, industrious hum, the Hummingbird Hawk moth bears all the trademark of a genuine hummingbird, even down to its bright colouration!

Hummingbird Hawk Moth - IronChris
It turns out that these two distinctly different creatures display the rare characteristic of  'Convergent Evolution'. This is when two independent species independently acquire similar characteristics.

Of course, true hummingbirds are native to the southern parts of the United States of America, and while the European Hummingbird hawk moth may originate from the warm climates of Asia, North Africa and the Mediterranean, it will in fact make its way up to cooler European countries as the summer progresses.

This means that with the Atlantic ocean separating the two species, they will never occur on the same continent without the intervention of man. Unfortunately, while they are able to reach our colder, northern European climates they are unable to produce a viable population that will survive the far colder winters.

Unlike the majority of moths, the Hummingbird Hawk Moth is often seen flying during the day, not only in bright sunshine, but also at dusk, dawn, and even in the rain!

Hummingbird Hawk Moth caterpillar - A. M. Liosi
Hummingbird hawk-moths are often seen in gardens, parks, and meadows, bushes, so if you want to try and encourage this fascinating creature into your own garden then you can consider planting its preferred food plants. They are particularly fond of nectar-rich flowering plants such as Centranthus, Buddleia, Nicotiana, Primula, Viola, Syringa, Verbena, Echium, Phlox, and Stachys, and climbing plants such as honeysuckle and jasmine. Once they have found your garden they will tend to stay a while as research has shown that they 'trap-line' which means that habitually return to the same plants at about the same time each day.

It is also worth planting the host plants on which the Hummingbird Hawk Moths lays its eggs and larvae subsequently feed from. These would include Galium species (bedstraws) or Rubia species (madders), but will also lay eggs on Centranthus, Stellaria, and Epilobium.

For related article click onto the following links:
FOOD PLANTS FOR CATERPILLARS
HOW TO ATTRACT THE HUMMINGBIRD HAWK MOTH
HOW TO FEED HUMMINGBIRDS
HOW TO GROW VERBENA BONARIENSIS FROM SEED
The Dead Leaf Butterfly
THE HUMMINGBIRD HAWK MOTH
THE SWALLOWTAIL BUTTERFLY
THE WORLD'S LARGEST BUTTERFLY - Ornithoptera alexandrae
VERBENA BONARIENSIS
WHAT DO HUMMINGBIRDS EAT?
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A MOTH AND A BUTTERFLY?
WHEN AND HOW TO PRUNE BACK BUDDLEIA
THE WORLD'S LARGEST BUTTERFLY - Ornithoptera alexandrae
WHAT IS THE WORLD'S LARGEST MOTH?
Hawk Moth file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
Caterpillar  file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license.

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