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Fri Jul 6, 2012, 06:45 PM

UPDATE!!----Flies like a humming bird, looks like a bee!

Last edited Sun Jul 8, 2012, 09:10 PM - Edit history (1)

UPDATE in separate post below
____________________________________

Actually, I thought "ZOMG, it's a fuzzy flying lobster!" but most people apparently see the hummingbird-bee resemblance.

Turns out, it's a "hummingbird moth." I'd never seen one before and while it hung around long enough for me to go grab my camera, once I turned it on him he bum-rushed the lens and flew off. Subsequent attempts at digital capture resulted in same.

Luckily, the interwebs provided:


(and LOL that the person that took this picture also thought "lobster!" http://www.wunderground.com/wximage/viewsingleimage.html?mode=singleimage&handle=novembergale&number=214 )

Apparently they are known for their love of phlox and it was indeed on such a flower that I spied him.

Definitely one of the craziest flying things I've ever seen in the garden.

And unusual creatures flitting about your place this year?

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Reply UPDATE!!----Flies like a humming bird, looks like a bee! (Original post)
beac Jul 2012 OP
Denninmi Jul 2012 #1
beac Jul 2012 #14
Beartracks Jul 2012 #2
beac Jul 2012 #3
beac Jul 2012 #4
dmosh42 Jul 2012 #5
Ednahilda Jul 2012 #6
beac Jul 2012 #15
Ednahilda Jul 2012 #17
beac Jul 2012 #18
hedgehog Jul 2012 #7
Denninmi Jul 2012 #8
hedgehog Jul 2012 #9
beac Jul 2012 #13
hue Jul 2012 #11
Gormy Cuss Jul 2012 #10
beac Jul 2012 #12
alfredo Jul 2012 #19
Solly Mack Jul 2012 #16
marble falls Jul 2012 #20
obxhead Jul 2012 #21
beac Jul 2012 #25
Plucketeer Jul 2012 #22
beac Jul 2012 #23
beac Jul 2012 #24
Skittles Jul 2012 #26
beac Jul 2012 #27
Skittles Jul 2012 #31
beac Jul 2012 #32
Skittles Jul 2012 #33
HopeHoops Jul 2012 #28
beac Jul 2012 #29
HopeHoops Jul 2012 #30
NeedleCast Jul 2012 #34
beac Jul 2012 #35
BlueToTheBone Jul 2012 #36
TuxedoKat Aug 2012 #37
Lugnut Aug 2012 #38

Response to beac (Original post)

Fri Jul 6, 2012, 07:48 PM

1. Unusual creatures flitting about my place this year?

Thankfully, not yet, my brother-in-law and sister haven't done one of their semi-annual fly overs to my house since last Christmas. But it no doubt will be soon.



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Response to Denninmi (Reply #1)

Sat Jul 7, 2012, 08:44 PM

14. LOL.

My in-laws are due in November... it'l be a veritable harvest festival of passive-agressive flitting. And they are not nearly so interesting or fluffy as that moth.

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Response to beac (Original post)

Fri Jul 6, 2012, 08:28 PM

2. You spied "him" on a phlox?

Wow, you could tell the gender??? That's amazing!




=====================

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Response to Beartracks (Reply #2)

Sat Jul 7, 2012, 10:35 AM

3. Actually, I guessed, but it turns out I was right!

http://www.silkmoths.bizland.com/hthysbe.htm
Male pictured in second-to-last pic, female in last pic. Definitely saw a male.

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Response to beac (Original post)

Sat Jul 7, 2012, 10:37 AM

4. Been doing some more reading on these creatures...

Apparently the ability to "hover in midair while they feed.... has evolved only four times in nectar feeders: in hummingbirds, certain bats, hoverflies, and these sphingids[3] (an example of convergent evolution)."

Nature is so cool.

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Response to beac (Original post)

Sat Jul 7, 2012, 12:52 PM

5. Great picture, and I wasn't aware of such a moth.

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Response to beac (Original post)

Sat Jul 7, 2012, 03:01 PM

6. I saw one a few evenings ago.

I was outside after dark re-assembling a bee hive that a bear had knocked over. (First bear incursion into my bee yard in a decade. Guess I've been lucky.) Anyway, I had lights on all over the place and I saw several of these beautiful moths. Couldn't get a close-up look, but I knew what they were. All the cats were lined up by the screen door, very excited to see the moths, but not for the same reason I was

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Response to Ednahilda (Reply #6)

Sat Jul 7, 2012, 08:47 PM

15. I always associate moths with evening and night spottings too.

Probably why it never occurred to me that this thing in my garden at mid-day could be a moth.

And "bear incursion" definitely wins the prize for most fearsome garden challenge!

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Response to beac (Reply #15)

Sun Jul 8, 2012, 09:19 AM

17. I was in the house watching something on PBS

and I heard a crash. Thought maybe the cats had knocked something over, but no. Hubby was working outside, but he didn't hear anything. His powers of not hearing are legendary. Anyway, around 9:45 I brought some garden tools out to the greenhouse, about 60' from our house and noticed one of the hives was laying on the ground. There were bear claw marks on one of the frames of wax, so it was obvious what happened. Put on the suit (bees were especially angry) and set everything right. I'm giving them a few days before I open the hive again to check on the queen.

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Response to Ednahilda (Reply #17)

Sun Jul 8, 2012, 09:29 AM

18. I don't blame those bees for being furious.

Hate it when someone tips my house over while I am sleeping!

Glad you heard it right away. Hope all's well when you go to check the queen.

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Response to beac (Original post)

Sat Jul 7, 2012, 04:25 PM

7. Well, now I'm stumped. Several years ago I was in Montreaux, Switzerland

on the shore of Lake Geneva. I spent several minutes watching what I thought was the world's tiniest hummingbird feeding on the late Autumn flowers. i was all set to post a photo, only to find out that there are no hummingbirds in Europe. i knew that. I knew that right up until I spent 10 minutes watching one! So what did I see?

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Response to hedgehog (Reply #7)

Sat Jul 7, 2012, 05:33 PM

8. Some other species of Sphinx moth.

There are several species in Europe.

It certainly could have been this one:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macroglossum_stellatarum

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Response to Denninmi (Reply #8)

Sat Jul 7, 2012, 05:39 PM

9. It must have been a sphinx moth. It was about the size of a bumble bee,

but it had the wide wings like a hummingbird.

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Response to hedgehog (Reply #9)

Sat Jul 7, 2012, 07:05 PM

13. Yours sounds tinier than the one I saw.

Mine was easily 1.5" long.

I also found out they are cousins to the dreaded tomato hornworm.

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Response to Denninmi (Reply #8)

Sat Jul 7, 2012, 06:16 PM

11. +1 some Peeps think they are humming birds, but they are sphinx moths! n/t

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Response to beac (Original post)

Sat Jul 7, 2012, 05:55 PM

10. That's cool and definitely looks like a hummingbird-lobster GMO experiment gone bad.

The craziest looking bug that I've ever seen in my garden is a Jerusalem cricket.




They're about 1-1.5 " long. I shrieked the first time I saw one.

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Response to Gormy Cuss (Reply #10)

Sat Jul 7, 2012, 06:59 PM

12. Yikes! I just about shrieked seeing it behind the safety of my computer screen.

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Response to Gormy Cuss (Reply #10)

Sun Jul 8, 2012, 02:30 PM

19. They taste like chicken.

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Response to beac (Original post)

Sat Jul 7, 2012, 08:56 PM

16. Beautiful! I knew about them. Would love to see one in person.

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Response to Solly Mack (Reply #16)

Sun Jul 8, 2012, 03:37 PM

20. Seen them in Arizona and I know they're here in Texas and they also spin tussah silk.

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Response to beac (Original post)

Sun Jul 8, 2012, 05:24 PM

21. Looks more like a flying shrimp to me.

 

Definitely an addition to the odd category.

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Response to obxhead (Reply #21)

Sun Jul 8, 2012, 09:13 PM

25. Shrimp is certainly a better match to its size.

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Response to beac (Original post)

Sun Jul 8, 2012, 06:33 PM

22. unusual creatures flitting about ?

 

How's about a California Valley Carpenter Bee? Ever seen a solid gold bumble bee? The Male Valley Carpenter Bee is a rich gold color. They'll hover around a favored spot for hours. I once observed a swarm of these golden beauties that were inhabiting a decaying walnut tree. Quite a sight! The females are solid black and supposedly lie in wait to "ambush" males for amorous reasons. We normally see the females all summer long - checking out the various blooming plants in the yard. The males - we see only very rarely, but I was witness to one just the other day.

We do see sphinks and hawk moths thru the evening hours (with 100 tomato plants, I'm sure we foster some Sphinks unwittingly. And hummingbirds! We have 3 species that spend their summers here and a couple that just pass thru. I'm currently going thru 8 quarts of hummingbird nectar every two days, so you can imagine the traffic!

Edit to add link: http://nathistoc.bio.uci.edu/hymenopt/Xylocopa.htm

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Response to Plucketeer (Reply #22)

Sun Jul 8, 2012, 08:59 PM

23. We only have ruby-throated hummingbirds here, but they

are a thirsty lot too. I refill the feeder about every other day. Sometimes a bold one will hover right next to me while I am watering the plants right under the feeder. Love that rare chance to be so close to such a tiny but powerful creature.

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Response to beac (Original post)

Sun Jul 8, 2012, 09:09 PM

24. UPDATE:

Guess whose mate came around for a visit today?:


And, luckily, not so camera-shy as her male counterpart!

I can tell it was a female b/c it it was much less colorful than the previous visitor. Amazing how she almost looks wingless b/c the wings are moving so fast.


General garden shot just for fun:

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Response to beac (Reply #24)

Mon Jul 9, 2012, 03:52 AM

26. wow!

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Response to Skittles (Reply #26)

Mon Jul 9, 2012, 09:02 AM

27. Another shot of her:



In this one you can see she's uncurled her proboscis and is ready to feed on those lantana blooms.

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Response to beac (Reply #27)

Mon Jul 9, 2012, 06:48 PM

31. she's a beaut!

lovely pic!

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Response to Skittles (Reply #31)

Mon Jul 9, 2012, 11:36 PM

32. The "female of the species" may or may not be "more deadly than the male"

but she is certainly more amenable to being photographed.

When Mr. Hummingbirdmoth came back around today he gave me the same Sean Penn'esque treatment as last time.

I was actually afraid he might have stunned himself b/c he head-butted the camera so hard.

Fortunately, he displayed no ill effects from his anti-paparazzi antics and zoomed off into the woods with the same speed as his avian "cousins."

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Response to beac (Reply #32)

Tue Jul 10, 2012, 12:35 AM

33. LOL

OMG I hope one day to see one of those things - I have heard of them but never seen one. I last tangoed with a real hummingbird when it flew into a huge, tall garage on a 105 degree day - my boyfriend and I had to to use a broom and rake to guide the little guy back outside - it's amazing the flying ability they have - sounds like your guests have the same abilities!

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Response to beac (Original post)

Mon Jul 9, 2012, 11:32 AM

28. It's a hummingbird moth. They aren't that uncommon. It's just uncommon to see one.

 

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Response to HopeHoops (Reply #28)

Mon Jul 9, 2012, 11:46 AM

29. And I never have before, but now I am seeing one every day.

Today, the male was back. They seem to show up about the same time every day and only one at a time, so maybe my yard is now on their regular nectaring schedule.

I do have several Phlox and Lantana growing, which I gather are among their favorites. And we have some wild phlox growing around the property too.

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Response to beac (Reply #29)

Mon Jul 9, 2012, 11:59 AM

30. Consider yourself lucky. They pollinate quite well.

 

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Response to beac (Original post)

Tue Jul 10, 2012, 12:57 PM

34. Flies like a humming bird, looks like a bee? Possibly Muhammad Ali?

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Response to NeedleCast (Reply #34)

Tue Jul 10, 2012, 01:47 PM

35. Yay, somebody got my veiled reference!



("Flies" for "Floats" was easy, but I couldn't come up with an "s" verb to replace "stings"... and, of course, I replaced butterfly w/hummingbird. )

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Response to beac (Original post)

Sun Jul 22, 2012, 04:50 PM

36. The offspring are the great tomato hornworms.

So, beauty and the beast, wrapped in one.

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Response to beac (Original post)

Thu Aug 9, 2012, 10:30 PM

37. Interesting...

I have phlox just starting to bloom right now, I'll keep a look out for these -- thanks.

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Response to beac (Original post)

Fri Aug 10, 2012, 02:08 AM

38. We've had them here.

I always hang a plant of Supertunias on the front porch and the hummingbirds love them. The front landscaping was redone a few weeks ago and the designer chose two dwarf butterfly bushes in the layout. Since then we've had a bunch of bees and butterflies enjoying the plants but this cool little bug started joining them. I'd never seen them before but they look like miniature hummingbirds.

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