07 June 2009

Flight of the Bumblebee..

... Or Not.

The Animal Kingdom is full of mimicry. This is particularly true of class Hexapoda (insects). Heidi and I were killing time at the Carleen Bright Arboretum; a nearby location that we sometimes hit for butterflies and other bugs.

The above picture was taken on 30 May 2009. This particular insect is a bumblebee mimic. It is actually a moth belonging one of my favorite Lepidopteran (butterfly & moth) families : Sphingidae. "Sphingids" are often referred to as Sphinx moths or Hawk moths.

This species is (Hemaris diffinis) "Snowberry Clearwing." This bug is a day-flying sphinx moth that is an excellent mimic of a bumble bee. It, however, hovers in front of blossoms rather than landing on them.

The following pictures of H. diffinis were taken back on 27 July 2007 at Carleen Bright Arboretum. Not long after I took these photos I found out they were the first documented records of this species in McLennan County. It is ofcourse highly unlikely that this was the first occurrence of this species in the county. There are not too many people (compared to birds, for example) into entomology (study of insects), and so there are huge gaps of documentation for insect species.

I wonder if composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov was inspired by a bumblebee....or a moth.

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