Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Things You Never Knew

So Saturday I'm sitting on the patio with the Better Two-Thirds and a neighbor and we're having a beer or two and chatting. Out of the corner of my eye I see something in the Mrs. impatiens that I take for a big wasp, maybe one of those cicada killers.

I need to pay attention 'cause maybe it is and maybe it ain't, but some wasps or bee types can render me quite ill if they decide to zap me. But this thing is very odd - there it went again.

I finally went over and looked and here's what I found - a Hummingbird Hawk Moth. Never knew such a thing existed. Lovely little critter.

Just in case you've never seen a cicada killer wasp.


ambisinistral said...

Whoa... what a weird moth.

Was it flapping its wings as fast as a humming bird? Or did it still flutter like a regular moth?

chuck said...

The eyes look different from the usual "fly" eye, almost like they have an iris. I wonder how how a compound eye gets that effect?

Knucklehead said...

Flies like a hummingbird - those wings were a hummin'! Hovered and shoved that straw into the flowers.

Been keeping an eye out for it but so far no further sighting. Very cool

Simone said...

Super cool! Even after reading the links and examining the photos my eyes tell me this is a hummingbird, of species "myfavoritemartianus" :-)

Anonymous said...

Wow. Great stuff, Knuck.

Knucklehead said...

The distribution map for the thing doesn't include the US, but I saw one clear as a bell in my own backyard in the NYC metro area. It really was an odd critter - completely fascinating. If I hadn't had a guest and another arrival I would have easily spent an hour watching and following it.

The other three people who saw it were not nearly as enchanted as I was. I guess I'm just a critter guy at heart. My Bride seemed sure that any insect that big had to be dangerous somehow and that if anyone would get zapped and wind up on a cart in an emergency room it would be Yours Truly, so she just wanted me to move away from it.

By the time I had the presence of mind to go find my camera it was gone.

My wife has been trying to attract hummingbirds to the yard for a couple years now with no success. We speculated a bit that it was a hummingbird but one guy noticed the antennas (does it need to be antennae for bugs?) and none of us had ever seen a hummingbird that small.

As you can tell, I'm easily amused by odd stuff.

chuck said...

The distribution map for the thing doesn't include the US

There are different species. Althouse saw a clearwing hummingbird moth the day after you posted here. Here are some more.

Knucklehead said...

Thanks, Chuck! Turns out the little bastids are everywhere. 2012 is nearly upon us and apparently the meek are fanning out to case their coming inheritance ;)

Sissy Willis said...

Totally awesome:

And you should see their kids: