Hemaris diffinis

What a nice breeze on this morning’s walk. We saw a bumblebee on nightshade and then I spotted Hemaris diffinis (a moth) further into the woods next to a patch of Coralberry. I was excited to see it sitting still! Coralberry (Symphoricarpos orbiculatus) is a host plant of the Snowberry Clearwing! On first glance when you see one on a flower it is easily mistaken for a bumblebee.

This berry I found on the ground expresses my surprise and delight on finding the Snowberry Clearwing. I believe it is a Hackberry berry.

The Snowberry Clearwing (Hemaris diffinis) sitting on lichen encrusted stick! I thought when I got down close to it I would find that it was in the clutches of a spider. But no, it had just emerged!
A front view where you can see its proboscis rolled up. Sorta looks like a nose LOL.
I took a chance and got it to climb on my hand!

Another front view. You can see that it is holding its wings above its abdomen.

Its wings had not hardened yet so they were a bit floppy at this point.

I carried it all the way home!

Time for its photo shoot!

Another angle! How can this be a clear wing? Just wait.

A close up the scales on the wing after I got home from the walk!

After five hours, its wings were almost completely cleared.

The whitish scales had turned translucent! So awesome! If you ever decide to raise a moth or a butterfly, make sure you give it room to stretch its wings to harden. This will help it not have deformed wings. I usually put a twig standing in the jar for it to use.

This was the last close up photo of the wing after eight hours of captivity. Time to release and be free! Movie below.


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  1. The Snowberry Clearwing is my VERY FAVORITE invertebrate!! I’m thrilled you were able to capture this whole photo set! Saving!

    1. Such a learning experience to see it change. I had wondered at first if was not something different. It would be interesting to know why the scales turned transparent.

    2. Suzanne, a different idea popped into my head about the “translucent” scales. Maybe instead they just fell off. Look closely at the last wing photo and there are little specks of white on the clear wing part. Could this be the scales attachment point? I will try to find some scales at the bottom of my jar. I will let you know what I find.

  2. This is one of my favorite moths. I got to watch one laying eggs on my coral honeysuckle years ago. The caterpillars are really cool looking. I included it in my caterpillar gardening with native plants talk. Many people don’t like moths but they are missing out on a lot of neat ones if they dismiss them. So glad for you to find it at that stage so you could observe and share!!!

  3. Kathy and Judy,
    People really are missing out. There are so many more moths than butterflies and there are so many beautiful ones if people just looked. And the moths are such an important pollinator too! Guess the moths just get a bad rap like snakes, eh.

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