A fairly common visitor to backyard gardens, especially ones with Bee-balm, Monarda didyma, Hummingbird Clearwing moths are diurnal- or fly during the day.
A moth is a tasty morsel for any bird flying by, so the members of the Hemaris genus have evolved to look like hummingbirds or bumblebees for their protection. This Hummingbird Moth, Hemaris thysbe is about 2-2.5 inches long, and has light colored legs. The Snowberry Clearwing is another smaller member of this Spinx Moth family, lending its appearance to be more bee-like and it is easy to note its very dark or black legs.
Our specimen, calmly taking a mid-morning rest, lent himself to the clearest photos I have ever enjoyed of this species. Usually their tiny wings are a blur of activity, as they travel from flower to flower. The full colors of this lively mimic are far more vibrant than a pinned specimen, and you can see a red-tint to the wings in this photo. He was just one of the many moths and butterflies to be found at Brinkhaven Barrens.
August is a fine month to visit a prairie. The grasses are coming into their full size, and many of the native flowers are at their peak. Interestingly enough, native prairies have many similarities, and yet distinct plant compositions give each a unique feel. Hope to see you at Don Beam's Stucker Meadow later today. Details are on the GMAS website.