You may have seen the cool posting in BoingBoing some weeks ago about the hummingbird hawkmoth. If you did, this
short video YouTube version of a short video from our garden might amuse you. Before we went away to CopperCon, Peter caught a few seconds of one of the local hawkmoths “tanking up” while the white buddleia bush in the front rockery was in bloom.
The species is Macroglossum stellatarum. Apparently (according to the Reader’s Digest Field Guide to the Butterflies and Other Insects of Britain) hawkmoths of this species migrate to the UK and Ireland from France each year. (Some may also overwinter in the southern counties of each island). They were fairly rare in the UK when the book was written in 1984 — it states that normally about fifty per year would be spotted: though there were very occasional years (as in 1947) when thousands might be seen.
When Peter took this video in our garden, there were easily ten of them hanging around and working the buddleia — which is a favorite with all the butterflies because it’s so fragrant and produces so much nectar in the long flower-spikes. I find myself wondering whether the lengthening of our local summers over the last couple of decades — and their earlier onset — is making it easier for increased numbers of the hawkmoths to get here from France: or whether maybe we now have a breeding population of our own in Ireland….
(Amusing sidelight: note the tiny spark of “blue-eye” that the flash from Peter’s camera inflicted on the moth.)
(Edit: video link changed to YouTube due to something like $300 worth of bandwidth-overage charges since yesterday…)
[tags]moth, insect, hummingbird, hawk moth, hawkmoth, garden, Ireland, buddleia[/tags]