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Japanese hummer

Japanese hummer
Photo Information
Copyright: Alan Cassidy (accassidy) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 162 W: 119 N: 596] (2454)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2007-11-13
Categories: Insects
Camera: Nikon D80, Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 G ED AF-S VR, 72mm UV
Exposure: f/8, 1/1500 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Date Submitted: 2007-12-13 14:15
Viewed: 4173
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 18
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Hummingbird hawk-moth, Macroglossum stellatarum

This hawk moth is named after its resemblance to a hummingbird, with its rapid hovering motion as it feeds on the nectar of flowers. Moths in the similar Hemaris genus of the family Sphingidae are known as "hummingbird moths" in the US, and "bee moths" in Europe, which sometimes causes confusion between this species and the North American genus.

Physical Description
The larvae/caterpillars grow to about 60mm in length. They are very colourful with a green or reddish-brown body with white dots and dark, white and yellow stripes, black spiracles and a blue, yellow-tipped horn. The sexes are similar in appearance. The moth itself is often mistaken for a hummingbird as it hovers above the flowers. The moths have a brown, white-spotted abdomen, brown forewings and orange hindwings. They have a wingspan of 40-50 mm. The wings beat so fast that they produce an audible hum.

Hummingbird hawk-moths are abundant in Mediterranean countries, Central Asia and Japan. In the British Isles they can be spotted every year in the summer from June to September and have been recorded as far north as the Orkney and Shetland Islands. They inhabit lowland areas.

The larvae feed on bedstraw (Galium). The adult moths are day-flyers and feed on the nectar of flowers such as orchids and petunias. They feed by hovering in front of a flower, probing it repeatedly using the proboscis.

Hummingbird hawk-moths are day fliers, preferring bright sunlight, but may also be seen at dawn and dusk and rarely at night. They are strongly attracted to flowers with a plentiful supply of nectar such as petunias, honeysuckle and buddleia. Studies have noted that have a remarkable memory, and return to the same flowerbeds at the same time everyday. They cannot survive the winter months and in Europe migrate to southern parts.

Moths locate their mates by scent, with sight playing a small part. Hummingbird hawk-moths have been seen to demonstrate aerial courtship chases, with the male and female engaging in rapid pursuits low over the ground, or spiral upwards together.

Conservation status
They are not listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

TN has a number of pictures of stellatarum from Europe, but none it appears from Japan. This will fill the gap!

The difficult question when photographing these insects is whether to go for a very fast shutter speed and try for "frozen" wing details or to use a slower speed and show the "blur" of rapidly moving wings. In this shot I chose the former; at least this helps in showing the patterns on the forewing. Even at 1/1500th, however, the nearer wing still shows some motion, so perhaps this is a little of both styles.

The shot was hand-held in bright sunlight in the park gardens just outside the Kyoto steam locomotive preservation museum, in the heart of Kyoto city. It has been cropped, resized and sharpened using Photoshop CS3.

haraprasan, earthtraveler, mariki, JPlumb, Hamurkaroglu, bizsu has marked this note useful
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To earthtraveler: Cropaccassidy 1 12-14 02:29
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2007-12-13 15:35]

waw ! very perfect pic take in a decisive moment,perfect sharpness and details,thanks for share,Luciano

Hi Alan,
A nicely composed shot of this flying hummingbird hawk moth. Excellent details and nice POV. Thanks a lot for sharing.

Hi Alan,
Very cool shot of this Hummer hawk- moth feeding.
Very good POV and also great job of stopping the action in flight. Good focus and DOF.
PS: I did a work shop showing a different crop.

Ciao Alan,
complimenti per questa foto.
Macroglossum stellatarum č un soggetto spesso fotografato in questa posizione, ma tu sei riuscito ad ottenere un'immagine davvero particolare e molto naturale.

Hello Alan,

Beautiful composition. Good focus, very nice detail. Very nice light and colours.
Well done,

Very nice shot of this Hummingbird Hawk-moth Alan. Your depth of field, colour and the actual detail caught on the moth and flower, while the moth was feeding is excellent.

Thanks, John

Hello Alan,
Very very nice macro work. TFS.

Hi Alan,
Very well captured action shot. Good composition and POV.
- Nirmal

  • Great 
  • bizsu Silver Star Critiquer [C: 41 W: 0 N: 6] (160)
  • [2007-12-28 16:08]

Hi Alan,
Wow !
Fantastic photo, very nice compo and colours. Congratulation. Happy New Year !
Regards, Zsú

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