Five facts about Hummingbird Moths

1285
hummingbird moth
A snowberry clearwing hummingbird moth gathers nectar from a butterfly bush. (Photo by Joshua Cotten, Unsplash)
SPECIAL ADVERTISING MESSAGE
Information provided by the Forest Preserves of Cook County

COOK COUNTY, Ill. (August 29, 2022) – Is it a bird? A plane? It’s a … moth? A hummingbird moth to be exact. The North American hummingbird moth moves so fast and looks, sounds, and acts so much like a hummingbird that it can be hard to tell the two apart. The hummingbird moth’s resemblance to a hummingbird helps keep it safe from predators that feed off bugs, but close observers will see differences as well as similarities.

Five facts

  • Hummingbird moths can grow up to 2.5 inches long, whereas a hummingbird can grow up to 4 inches long. Hummingbird moths are plumper than hummingbirds, and the moth has six legs and an antenna, while a hummingbird has two legs and a beak.
  • Hummingbird moths emerge from their chrysalis in spring, just as hummingbirds are migrating to their area. They are active in the spring and summer, like hummingbirds.
  • Hummingbird moths feed off flowers by hovering over them in mid-air, then roll out their proboscis (a tubular mouthpart) to reach the nectar. A moth’s proboscis can be nearly twice as long as its body.
  • There are four kinds of hummingbird moths in North America. The two most prevalent are the snowberry clearwing and the hummingbird clearwing.
  • Most hummingbird moths fly at speeds up to 12 mph. Hummingbird moths move their wings up to 70 times a second, while hummingbirds can move their wings up to 80 times per second.

Hummingbird moths can be seen all throughout Illinois, including in Cook County.

More information about local wildlife can be found at fpdcc.com, the IDNR’s website, or by visiting a local nature center. The nearest center to Lansing is the Sand Ridge Nature Center in South Holland.

SPECIAL ADVERTISING MESSAGE
SPECIAL ADVERTISING MESSAGE
(GOOGLE-SUPPLIED ADVERTISEMENT)