Top Photo: Can you find the caterpillar amongst the leaves?
The literature states that hummingbird clearwings (Hemaris thysbe) lay their eggs on honeysuckle and viburnum, less frequently on a few other tree species. The moths have been documented laying eggs on viburnums here on campus and their caterpillars have been spotted on two different varieties of viburnum.
The caterpillars reach a length of about 2 inches, a little less than half the size of some of the more familiar sphinx moth caterpillars like the tomato or tobacco hornworms. Their smaller size and excellent camouflage conceal them well.
The adult moths visit garden flowers during daylight hours for their nectar and at first may be confused with hummingbirds, though a bit smaller. They don’t sit still for very long, zipping from one flower to the next. If they find a good nectar source with plenty of flowers in close proximity, you may be in for a treat watching them sample each flower in turn.
Consider yourself fortunate on spotting either the adult or caterpillar hummingbird moth.