Sphingids of Spain: The Broad-bordered Bee Hawk-moth

If you haven’t already, check out ‘part one’ of this blog post here:

2017-08-08 Zoomology Sphingids of Spain

In our first post, we let you know what we’ve been up to and why we’ve been gallivanting about Spain. We introduce the family, Sphingidae, of which today’s organism is a part of. We also talk about our first Sphingid, the hummingbird hawk-moth (Macroglossum stellatarum).

In this post, we want to share with you another beautiful Sphingid, the broad-bordered bee hawk-moth (Hemaris fuciformis).

The Broad-bordered Bee Hawk-moth (Hemaris fuciformis)

The broad-bordered bee hawk-moth is found in north Africa, Europe (except northern Scandinavia) and Central and Eastern Asia. As for the UK, you are most likely to see them from May to August, but they are nationally scarce and are restricted to small areas.

Hemaris thysbe [HUMMINGBIRD CLEAR WING] Goizueta, Basque Country 31.072017 #2

It gets its common name from the fact that it resembles a bumble bee. The hawk-moth, however, is much larger and more agile than their bee-counterpart. The hawk-moth also feeds whilst flying, whilst a bumble bee lands on the flower.

Hemaris thysbe [HUMMINGBIRD CLEAR WING] Goizueta, Basque Country 31.072017 #1

We noticed whilst observing the hummingbird hawk-moth and the broad-bordered bee hawk-moth feeding, that the hummingbird hawk-moth never rests any of its legs on the flower whereas the bee hawk-moth always rests its front two legs. Here is a comparison:

Their caterpillars feed on honeysuckle (Lonicera) and bedstraw (Galium). In honeysuckle leaves, the young caterpillars create small circular holes. This distinctive feeding pattern is often a good way to find the species.

The adults like to feed on the nectar of honeysuckle in particular, but also bugle (Ajuga), ragged-robin (Lychnis), Rhododendron, louseworts and Aubretia. We found ours on Buddleja. This moth is a day-flying moth, being active in the late-morning and early-afternoon sunshine.

Hemaris thysbe [HUMMINGBIRD CLEAR WING] Goizueta, Basque Country 31.072017

We had never seen one in the UK before, so to encounter it in Spain was quite an exciting experience. Two Sphingids on the same plant – we were certainly happy campers.

Coming up next are our final two posts from our France/Spain trip: Wall Lizards and Stag Beetles. Until then, thank you for reading!

References and Further Reading

Hawk-moths (Sphingidae)

Motyle Europy Website – Sphingidae of Europe –https://www.lepidoptera.eu/Thumbnails2.php?country=XX&family=Sphingidae&mode=up
(Retrieved 6 August, 2017)

The RSPB Website – Hummingbirds and Hawkmoths – https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/read-and-learn/watching-birds/identify/hummingbirdhawkmoth/
(Retrieved 6 August, 2017)

Wikipedia Website – List of moths of Great Britain (Sphingidae) – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_moths_of_Great_Britain_(Sphingidae)
(Retrieved 6 August, 2017)

Wikipedia Website – Sphingidae – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sphingidae
(Retrieved 6 August, 2017)

Broad-bordered Bee Hawk-moth (Hemaris fuciformis)

Butterfly Conservation Website – Broad-bordered Bee Hawk-moth – http://butterfly-conservation.org/51-1098/broad-bordered-bee-hawk-moth.html
(Retrieved 6 August, 2017)

Motyle Europy Website – Hemaris fuciformis (Linnaeus, 1758) – https://www.lepidoptera.eu/show.php?ID=179&country=EN
(Retrieved 6 August, 2017)

UK Moths Website – Broad-bordered Bee Hawk-moth Hemaris fuciformis – http://ukmoths.org.uk/species/hemaris-fuciformis/adult/
(Retrieved 6 August, 2017)

Wikipedia Website – Hemaris fuciformis –https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hemaris_fuciformis
(Retrieved 6 August, 2017)


10 Comments Add yours

  1. naturebackin says:

    Another amazing moth!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much! It is indeed 😃

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great photos! We found what we believe to be a mimic moth on our estate. Unfortunately, it buzzed off so quickly that I couldn’t photograph it. Fingers crossed for next time!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you very much, Carolyn! How lucky to have seen the moth. 😃 Yes, they are so quick, aren’t they? It took us quite some time to get these photos. We were lucky that they stuck around for long enough to get the shots. I’ll cross my fingers for you, too! Definitely share the photo with us if you manage to get one. 😄 Good luck!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Not a fan of bees but have to say these are beautiful looking🙂 their welcome to go about my garden anytime. I would of never thought bees like these two existed.


    1. They are beautiful, aren’t they? 😃 Believe it or not, these aren’t bees! This one is a moth that mimics a bee. 🐝

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wait really? I thought it was some kind of cross-insect where it was a combination between a bee and a moth. Crazy! They sure are pretty:)

        Liked by 1 person

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