Unmistakable Identity

Snowberry Clearwing Moth

This beautiful creature is Hemaris diffinis, the Snowberry Clearwing Moth. It is also known as the “Bumblebee Moth,” and it is not difficult to see why with such coloration. But to see it in person — in action — it looks a little different: it hovers and skips on the air alternately with such speed that it almost appears to be teleporting, like a comic book character. And like its mothly siblings, the members of the Family Sphingidae, the Sphinx moths, it typically hovers, as a hummingbird, on the lip of flowers to feed. This Snowberry Clearwing was particularly placid, and my guess is that it had just eclosed, hanging about while its wings stiffened before it began the adventure of adulthood. It was apparent that I was distressing it, but hopefully I wasn’t too much of a bother. It was too beautiful a subject and too good an opportunity to let it ride with only a shot or two (and if you noticed the washed out white hairs, you can see the multiple shots I took still did not yield the most satisfactory result). I admire a creature that mimics another, acts as another, but full well knows its own limitations and does not lose itself in the acting. In this way, bugs and people differentiate themselves yet again. It makes sense given the complex relationships and brain functions of humans, but I find myself a little envious of these Leps nonetheless. They can’t fool themselves, and consequently they will truly never have to suffer a fool.

Snowberry Clearwing Moth Close-up

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