A New Caterpillar for the Photo Achives

Top Photo: Hummingbird moth caterpillar on viburnum.

Just last week (8/19) I posted I was keeping an eye out for caterpillars of the hummingbird moth (Hemaris thysbe). I had spotted a moth the previous week laying eggs on a viburnum and wanted to get a photo of the caterpillar.

Adult hummingbird moth (Hemaris thysbe).

I mentioned my observation to Richard Stickney of the Butterfly House crew and sure enough, he found one on the very viburnum I indicated (8/28).

When seeing the caterpillar I was at first not sure it was actually Hemaris thysbe and not H. diffinis, the snowberry clearwing. They’re similar in appearance and although hummingbird moths feed on viburnum, snowberry clearwings are not listed as doing so, I had to be sure. A quick check in a field guide confirmed it, the two white spots top and bottom of each spiracle (breathing ports on insect’s side), blueish head and blue “horn,” said yes, it’s a hummingbird moth. I got my photo.

Hummingbird moth larva on viburnum.

Get out and enjoy the natural world!

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