Hummingbird – no
wait – it’s a moth!
Insect Diagnostician, Department of Entomology, Purdue University
We receive many calls and e-mails each
year that are very similar to the following: “I
was outside this weekend and noticed what I thought was a hummingbird. It
was early evening and I was surprised the “hummingbird” let
me get so close. Upon
further inspection, I saw that it was actually a large moth that
looked like a hummingbird in its size, shape and movement. It
also had a long proboscis that was fully extended and it was
sipping nectar from flowers on our patio. I snapped a few
pictures which are attached.”
If it looks like a humming
bird and acts like a hummingbird – but
is a moth - it is correctly called a hummingbird moth.
These belong to a family of night flying moths called Sphingidae. They
are of no real concern when moths but the species pictured here
(tomato hornworms) can be devastating as caterpillars when they
attack tomatoes and other garden plants.