urbpan.livejournal.com
Neither beast nor fowl
I'm sure I've written about his before, but my first encounter with a hummingbird moth was magical and disorienting. I was a child very much into insects, mostly the crawling kind easy to find under logs and rocks. The scaly-winged order--the moths and butterflies, were sometimes pretty, usually…

drab, and took to flight before a young naturalist could closely examine them. Then this being appeared–a chimera that flies like a hummingbird, has the face of a moth, and bears the ruddered tail of a swimming crustacean. (The individual pictured here has a worn and damaged tail).

This is the hummingbird clearwing (Hemaris thysbe)–the wings are clear and without scales like a wasp or a fly. Colorful scales might slow down the buzzing wings, or detract from the wasp-like illusion that gives some predators pause.


flickr

Monkey slug caterpillar, Phobetron sp., Limacodidae by Andreas Kay
Via Flickr:
from Ecuador Megadiverso: www.flickr.com/andreaskay/albums