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I can’t believe it, I have finally seen a Hummingbird Hawk-moth, for the first time in my life. I had always wanted to see one since I was young, so it was very exciting. I spotted it in someone’s tiny front garden during the school run on a cold windy morning, which is the last place or time I would expect to see one. But it just shows how even tiny gardens can make a difference and help out wildlife. It’s an amazing moth and definitely lives up to its ‘Hummingbird’ name. Just watch my video below to see how it hovers as it feeds from the flowers using its long proboscis.
The Hummingbird Hawk-moth (Macroglossum stellatarum) is a small day-flying hawk-moth, which has a similar feeding habit to hummingbirds. During flight, their wings beat so rapidly, they emit a humming sound. M. stellatarum is abundant and resident all around Mediterranean countries, and across Central Asia to Japan. In Britain, they can be found throughout the summer, due to varying numbers migrating from Southern Europe every year. They also frequently breed in Britain, however, only small numbers have been known to survive some mild British winters.
Hummingbird Hawk-moth larvae feed on Galium (Bedstraw) and Rubia (Wild Madder). The larva grows up to 60mm in length. It is very colourful with green or reddish brown body with white dots and dark, white and yellow stripes, black spiracles and a blue yellow-tipped horn.
Hummingbird Hawk-moths are strongly attracted to nectar-rich flowers, such as Honeysuckle, Red Valerian, Jasmine, Lilac, Buddleia, Phlox, Escallonia and Petunia. Studies have revealed the Hummingbird Hawk-moth’s remarkable memory that enables them to return to the same flowerbeds every day at about the same time.
If you would like to find out more about British Moth species or want a photographic identification guide, then you may be interested in the following guide from Amazon: