Friday, October 23, 2015

(Italian) Weekend Walkabout: The Italian Hawk-Moth

Ah, Macroglossum stellatarum, how elusive and mysterious are your ways!


In Italy, skulking about with my camera while my hosts played golf,  I saw a very strange critter flitting through a patch of one of my favorite, exuberant flowers, Lantana! It hovered briefly over a flower and used a long proboscis, or was it a beak, to drink the nectar, then sped on:
Italian Hawk Moth with Lantana, MRobb, 2015
I love hummingbirds and thought, "Could it be? Hummingbird? Or alien life form taking botanical samples?"  Turns out it was actually the Italian Hawk Moth. Who knew? Here's another, clearer, shot from Wikipedia:
Italian Hawk Moth, Wikipedia
They are often mistaken by New World types like me for hummingbirds. Oh, and to make it even more confusing, they actually hum! I heard it hum, it's true. Not Sibelius or anything, but still. Is that weird or what? But what good fortune to meet such a charmingly deceptive creature. Have a wonderful gardening weekend!


  1. Hi Marla,
    A couple of years ago my friend and former student took this phone video of a hummingbird moth in her garden in North Carolina.

    1. Hi, Gail! What a great video, I shared it on my Google plus! Thanks!