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Insects and other arthropods

Hummingbird moths

Hemaris thysbe

Tabs group


These stocky moths have a wingspan of 3.8 to 5.5 cm and a relatively long proboscis. The narrow, pointed forewings are much larger than the hindwings. All four wings have patches free of scales, except on the veins. These transparent sections are surrounded by a border varying in colour from purplish-red to dark brown. The base of the wings and the front half of the body are olive green, as is the abdomen, which also has reddish bands.

Life cycle

The species produces two generations a year in Quebec, except in northern regions. The first-generation females lay their spherical eggs in the spring or early summer on the leaves of host plants.

The tiny caterpillar that emerges is lime green or reddish in colour, generally bearing two yellow lines on top of the body and reddish spots on the sides of the abdomen. A pale lavender or reddish “horn” can be seen near the tip of the abdomen.

Once it has completed its development, the caterpillar looks for a suitable site and forms a brownish chrysalis. It overwinters in this form. In the spring, or in the summer for the second generation, adults emerge and mate.

Geographic distribution

Hummingbird moths are North American insects, fairly common across Canada and the United States.


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