Humming-bird Hawk-moth

  • Humming-bird Hawk-moth
    Humming-bird Hawk-moth

Scientific name: Macroglossum stellatarum

April to December. An immigrant from southern Europe and Africa. Resembles a hummingbird as it flies rapidly between plants and hovers to feed over tubular flowers such as Viper's-bugloss (Echium vulgare), during the day.

Similar to Bee hawk moths in flight but the Humming-bird Hawk-moth has orange-brown hindwings which is evident in flight. It has forewings that are greyish-brown and a black and white chequered body.

The caterpillars can be found from June to October, but most frequently found in August. They overwinter as adults in unheated outbuildings and in crevices and holes in walls and trees, pupating in a cocoon spun close to the ground, among the foliage of the foodplant or in leaf litter.

Size and Family

  • Family – Hawk-moths (Sphingidae)
  • Medium / Large Sized 
  • Wingspan Range 50-58mm

Conservation Status

  • UK BAP: Not listed
  • Immigrant, suspected resident

Caterpillar Food Plants

Lady's Bedstraw (Galium verum), Hedge Bedstraw (Galium album) and Wild Madder (Rubia peregrina). Also seen laying eggs on Red Valerian (Centranthus ruber).

Habitat

Found in many habitats from coastal areas to gardens, woodland rides and urban areas.

Distribution

  • Countries – England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland
  • Immigrant from Southern Europe and North Africa. Widespread throught UK. Most numerous in Southern and Eastern England, South Wales and the Midlands
  • Distribution Trend Since 1970’s = Britain: Stable

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