Macroglossum stellatarum (NL: Kolibrievlinder, Meekrapvlinder, Onrustvlinder - rups / EN: Hummingbird Hawk-moth, Hummingmoth - caterpillar / DE: Taubenschwänzchen, Taubenschwanz, Karpfenschwanz, Kolibrischwärmer - Raupe / FR: Moro sphinx, Sphinx colibri, Sphinx du caille-lait - chenille) is a species of Sphingidae. Its long proboscis and its hovering behaviour, accompanied by an audible humming noise, make it look remarkably like a hummingbird while feeding on flowers. It shouldn't be confused with the moths called hummingbird moths in North America, genus Hemaris, members of the same family and with similar appearance and behavior. The resemblance to hummingbirds is an example of convergent evolution. It flies during the day, especially in bright sunshine, but also at dusk, dawn, and even in the rain, which is unusual for even diurnal hawkmoths.
Newly hatched larvae are clear yellow, and in the second instar assume their green coloration. The larva is green with two grey stripes bordered in cream along the sides and the horn at the rear end typical of sphingids. The horn is purplish red, changing to blue with an orange tip in the last instar - as in this image. They feed fully exposed on the top of the host plant and rest in among a tangle of stems. Although dependent on warmth and sun, the larval stage can be as rapid as 20 days.
Image: Soglio (CH) – 12/07/2012
© Johan Dierckx
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