Semper Fidelis - Semper Discentes

Archive for the ‘Lepidoptera’ Category

Isn’t This a BEAUTIFUL Bug?

In Lepidoptera on April 2, 2013 at 2:36 pm

After spending several hours cataloging the odonates I caught on my recent trip through Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, South Dakota, and Montana, I decided to go out on the porch and sit under the ceiling fans and rehydrate myself.

Despite the 97 degree weather, the porch was shady and fine, and I turned on the sprinkler, so as to be able to revive all the little shrubs I’d planted before the aforementioned trip.

As I opened one of Mr. Busch’s most excellent products, I noticed an insect lying in the sprinkler water that had been thrown up on the porch.  He’d been dead for awhile, but was still a very handsome fellow.  Couldn’t figure out WHAT it was.  Looked sorta butterflyish/mothish, but had a very robust body, almost like a big old bumblebee, and the four wings were essentially clear.

I grabbed him up.  Then, being far too lazy to walk out to the Jeep to get my Professional, Olive-Drab, Telescoping-Handle-Up-To-Six-Feet, 18″ Diameter, High-Priced Bug Net, I ran inside for Susan’s $2.99 florescent orange Kiddie Net.

Managed to net two more of the little beggars.

Ain’t this just a BEAUTIFUL bug?

Introducing the “Snowberry Clearwing” (Hemaris diffinis)

I figured I’d have to post a picture to the OUTSTANDING folks at “Bug Guide”  (www.bugguide.net).  This is the greatest insect website ever conceived.  Just post a picture of an unidentified insect, and one of their experts will probably e-mail you with an identification within about fifteen minutes.

 
Before I bothered them, though, I decided to try to figure out what I had, on my own.  Pulling out my trusty copy of Heitzman & Heitzman’s Butterflies and Moths of Missouri, I managed (even after three adult beverages) to determine that this was, indeed, a moth.  Particularly a moth of the family Sphingidea, the Sphinx or Hawk Moths.  I am almost absolutely certain this is Hemaris diffinis, the “Snowberry Clearwing”.
 
According to the reference, it’s “found throughout Missouri from late March into September.  This common species is at home in forests and brushy fields and frequently turns upin city yards and gardens…a day-flying species, [it] has been found visiting a great variety of flowers.  The adults mimic bumblebees and are often mistaken for these hymenopterous insects by people who are unfamiliar with the Lepidoptera.” (emphasis mine)
 
A VERY cool bug.
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