Snowberry Clearwing Moth visits our flowerpots

I closed yesterday’s post with this teaser photo . . .

I’m not sure how many noticed what I was referring to, so here’s a close-up.

That is a Snowberry Clearwing. I’m providing additional links about it (HERE, HERE, HERE) and also mentioning that if one does an image search for it, one might be shown a different moth, the Hummingbird Clearwing Moth; they are not the same.

Like in the previous post, the SmugMug Gallery has 27 photos, but I won’t be posting them all. I’ll feature a few I like, but there is a slideshow at the bottom of the post of all 27 photos. And, of course, you could visit the gallery itself. Note that the photos below are linked nearly at full resolution (they are crops of the originals), so the only advantage of going to SmugMug is that you can more easily navigate the photos.

Some readers might remember last year’s post about the White-lined Sphinx Moth. Both it and the Snowberry Clearwing belong to the Sphingidae family of moths. I don’t remember how many are native here in Illinois, but I know there are a few more species that I’ve yet to see.

But, meanwhile, I’m happy to share this fellow (based on the description of differences between males and females, it should be a male).

As mentioned, there’s a slideshow below, and that works well to show it going into some flowers. A movie would have been better, but the D7500 with the 70-200mm f/2.8 lens is a bit unwieldy to film the dynamics of a moth going from flower to flower.

Here’s one of the shots showing that despite the long proboscis, he still had to get his head and body into the action . . .

As mentioned in the last post, please excuse the state of the flowers; heat, heavy rains, and back to heat did a number on them (the rain more than the heat) and at the time we’d not gotten around to cleaning off the dead and dying stuff.

Like my experience with the White-lined Sphinx, this moth was fairly tolerant of my presence, although I wasn’t as close to the moth since I was using the telephoto lens as opposed to the macro lens.

I was shooting at a shutter speed of 0.0005s (1/2000), f/10, with Auto-ISO. Those settings are what I use when I try to freeze the motion of bird wings in flight. I still couldn’t completely freeze the wings unless I caught them at the end of their strokes.

I like that shot because it shows the proboscis coated with pollen it picks up on the way to drinking the nectar at the bottom of the flower.

You can also see why they are called ‘clearwings’. For them who don’t follow links, moth wings are typically covered with scales. The central portions of these moths lack scales, and hence the name.

Below, the wings just before they reach the top of their stroke.

The description also says these are often confused for bumblebees, but I don’t see how. They are much larger and don’t have similar flight characteristics. The description also says they don’t land on flowers to feed . . . they might not land, but they sure jam in there sometimes.

Before I link the slideshow, let me show a few more of my favorite photos from this set:

So, you already have the link to the gallery, but here’s the slideshow:

Slideshow of the Snowberry Clearwing SmugMug Gallery (27 photos)

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


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