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Species Page - Hemaris thysbe
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scientific name    Hemaris thysbe    

common name     Hummingbird Clearwing

Open woodlands, edges and clearings and adjacent meadows.

Adults are on the wing late May - July.

A fairly large (4.5-6.2 cm. wingspan) day-flying moth with narrow, pointed translucent wings. The wings have dark olive brown (forewing) or red brown (hindwing) bases, a wide dark outer margin, and the veins are lined with dark scales. The heavy body is covered in dark olive-brown hairs, except for a wide dark band on the abdomen. In Alberta, it can be mistaken only for the Snowberry Clearwing, which is smaller, has narrow dark outer margins on the wings, and large yellow patches on the sides of the lower abdomen. The very similar Slender Clearwing (H. gracilis) has been reported from eastern Saskatchewan and may eventually turn up in eastern Alberta. H. thysbe can always be told from other species of Hemaris by the row of dark scales bisecting the forewing discal cell (absent in other Hemaris species). Royal Alberta Museum page

life history
The Hummingbird Clearwing is most often encountered during the day while nectaring at flowers. Unlike the Snowberry Clearwing, it is frequents open woodlands throughout much of the Boreal Forest region. It rarely alights, and the wingbeat is so rapid the wings are a blur, and thus it greatly resembles it's namesake, the hummingbird.

No concerns.

diet info
No Alberta data. Elsewhere reported to use various shrubs, including Viburnum, Honeysuckle (Lonicera), Cherry (Prunus), Hawthorn (Craetagus) and snowberry (Symphoricarpos).

Occurs throughout most of the wooded parts of eastern North America, west accross the boreal forest region to B.C. and Washington. In Alberta it is found throughput the boreal forest, the northern part of the aspen parklands and in the foothills and lower elevations in the mountains.

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Comments (6)Add New Comment

Barb Brookbank (2010-06-08)
I photographed a hemaris thysbe at Jackfish Lake feeding on our lilac bush - I have some terrific photos. June 5/2010.

Phyllis Kocuipchyk (2010-06-21)
I think we saw this hummingbird at Emerson Lakes in the Sundance provincial park this weekend. It was darting from dandelion to dandelion flower, we did get afew pictures but nothing clear of the wings as they were moving too fast.

Mark Stevens (2012-04-30)
I found a Hemaris Thysbe cocoon in my yard in Pueblo, Colorado under some old bark. I have had in all winter in a bowl with some grass on top of my fridge. It moves a bit from time to time so I know it's alive. I will put the bowl outside soon so it can fly away when it's ready to come out.

Marje (2012-10-16)
I live in Didsbury Alberta and saw my first clearwing sipping nectar, but what I saw had a white body with a black "pinstripe" along each side. I couldn't see anything of the wings they moved so fast, only able to get an idea as to wing shape. Turned out there were 2 of these beauties gracing my yard. Can anyone tell me what kind of moth this is please? This siting was Oct. 6th. Body size was approx. 2 inches long.

Gary Anweiler (2012-10-17)
Hi Marje

Some of our sphinx moths do have a black and white body...check the image on the Sphinx vashti page. There are a number of other moths that also visit flowers, and more information would be needed to be able to identify the moth you saw.

Barry street (2013-08-17)
We just saw one in our butterfly bush in Brantford Ontario.

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Related Species Info
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References (5)
Specimen Info
There are 37 specimens of this species in the online database
Map Distribution
Adult Seasonal Distributioncreate a collection histogram with specimens
Specimen List (37)
Related Links
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