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Macroglossum stellatarum

Macroglossum stellatarum
Photo Information
Copyright: Silvio Sorcini (Silvio2006) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6690 W: 90 N: 16812] (102073)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2007-06-25
Categories: Insects
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): marmottelolo theme [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2007-06-26 5:25
Viewed: 3201
Favorites: 4 [view]
Points: 66
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Ormai siamo vecchi amici e si mette in posa per me
La Sfinge del Galio (Macroglossum stellatarum, Linnaeus 1758) è un insetto dell'ordine dei Lepidotteri.
Ha abitudini diurne e crepuscolari. Vola da agosto a settembre e si posa solo per riposare dopo il crepuscolo, ben nascosta dalla vegetazione. Ha un corpo grosso tozzo e peloso, ma il volo rapidissimo di un colibrì, così infatti è spesso nominata. Questo Sphingidae non si posa sui fiori, ma passa con estema rapidità da un fiore all'altro senza mai posarsi: resta in volo librato su di essi per pochi secondi (da 3 a 10 circa) battendo velocemente le ali ad una frequenza di circa 200 volte al secondo e protendendo la lunga spirotromba verso i fiori per suggere il nettare.
Il suo volo è particolare e molto differente da quello delle altre farfalle, le sue ali sono infatti animate da un movimento estremamente veloce, molto simile ad una vibrazione. Questo le permette di stazionare in modo fermo e preciso sui fiori e di gustarne il nettare restando in volo, proprio come un colibrì!

The Hummingbird Hawk-moth (Macroglossum stellatarum) is a species of hawk moth with a long proboscis, and is capable of hovering in place, making an audible humming noise. These two features make it look remarkably like a hummingbird when it feeds on flowers. It flies during the day, especially in bright sunshine, but also at dusk (Herrera, 1992), dawn, and even in the rain, which is unusual for even diurnal hawkmoths (Pittaway, 1993). Its visual abilities have been much studied, and it has been shown to have a relatively good ability to learn colours (Kelber, 1996).
Two or more broods are produced each year. Adults may be encountered at any time of the year, especially in the south of the range, where there may be three or four broods. It overwinters as an adult in a crevice among rocks, trees, and buildings (Pittaway, 1993). On very warm days they may emerge to feed in mid-winter. Eggs are spherical, 1 mm in diameter and a glossy pale green. They are said to look like the flower buds of the host plant Galium, and that is where the female lays them. They hatch 6 to 8 days after laying (Pittaway, 1993). Up to 200 eggs may be laid by one female, each on a separate plant. Newly hatched larvae are clear yellow, and in the second instar assume their green coloration.
The larva is green with two grey stripes bordered in cream along the sides and the horn at the rear end typical of sphingids. The horn is purplish red, changing to blue with an orange tip in the last instar (Pittaway 1993). They feed fully exposed on the top of the host plant and rest in among a tangle of stems. Although dependent on warmth and sun, the larval stage can be as rapid as 20 days.
The pupae are pale brownish with a prominent, keeled proboscis, and two sharp spines at the end of the cremaster. They are enclosed in loose silken cocoons among the host plant debris or on the ground among leaf litter (Pittaway, 1993). The forewings are brown, with black wavy lines across them, and the hindwings are orange with a black edge. The abdomen is quite broad, with a fan-tail of setae at the end. The wingspan is 40-45 mm.
In the southern parts of its range, the Hummingbird Hawk-moth is highly active even when temperatures are high, and thoracic temperatures above 45 °C have been measured (Herrera, 1992). This is among the highest recorded for hawkmoths, and near the limit for insect muscle activity
Larvae usually feed on bedstraws or madders (Rubia) but has been recorded on other Rubiaceae and Centranthus, Stellaria and Epilobium (Pittaway, 1993).
Adults are particularly fond of flowers with lots of nectar (e.g. Jasminum, Buddleia, Nicotiana, Primula, Viola, Syringa, Verbena, Echium, Phlox and Stachys reported by Pittaway, 1993). They are reported to trap-line, i.e. return to the same flower beds at about the same time each day.
Scientific classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Arthropoda

Class: Insecta

Order: Lepidoptera

Family: Sphingidae

Genus: Macroglossum

Species: M. stellatarum

Binomial name

Macroglossum stellatarum
Linnaeus, 1758

PS the second bug is Oxythyrea funesta

JORAPAVI, uleko, gelor, jmirah, Chicco_pv, Alex99, haraprasan, mikou, MMM, jaycee, ramthakur, dew77, JPlumb, Proframe, marieproue, Necipp, ddg, gerbilratz, CeltickRanger has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To dew77: ThanksSilvio2006 1 06-26 12:05
To mario-roberto: grazieSilvio2006 1 06-26 06:56
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Critiques [Translate]

Hola Silvio,
Fantástica imagen, me gusta mas que la anterior que ya era bonita, la nitidez excelente y la composición genial, Saludos
José Ramón

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2007-06-26 5:53]

Hello Silvio,
Very fine and well-timed shot of this Hummingbird Hawkmoth. Excellent sharp details and nice colours. Great composition too.
TFS and regards, Ulla

  • Great 
  • gelor Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 124 W: 3 N: 12] (523)
  • [2007-06-26 6:18]

Bonjour Silvio,
Tout simplement superbe ! Netteté, couleurs et composition de très grande qualité. Le fond également est très joli. Bravo ! J'aimerais éventuellement connaître les conditions de prise de vue.

Hi Silvio,
A really beautiful photo...Excellent detail and focus...Great BG and color...Fantastic capture of the bug and moth at the same flower...A very unusual moth...I have only seen one in my life when I was a kid and I couldn't believe what I was seeing...TFS

Applausi per questo scatto, davvero notevole e non facile da fare.

qui andrea, e non solo, ti farebbe i complimentissimi!

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2007-06-26 8:35]

Hi Silvio.
My congratulations on so amazing in-flight shot. Bravo. Superb done. Excellent timing, pleasant subject, perfect composition, lighting, details and sharpness of the insect and flower. BG is reflected very well too. MY kind regards and TFS.

Hi Silvio,
This is far far better from your prev shots. Excellent POV, Sharpness and Details. Thanks a lot for sharing.

  • Great 
  • Maite Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 998 W: 65 N: 1270] (5199)
  • [2007-06-26 9:08]

Hola Silvio
Magnificent capture! You had a perfect skillness catching this hummingbird with such excellent sharpness in its hovering. Fantastic details and bg and very beautiful composition.

  • Great 
  • mikou Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 869 W: 68 N: 1479] (6093)
  • [2007-06-26 9:40]

Hi Silvio.
Excellent capture with perfect timing.Superb pose of this very interesting insect and great details.Well composed picture with nice POV and amazing colors.My compliments and thank you for sharing.
Best greetings Milos.

  • Great 
  • MMM Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1114 W: 0 N: 2546] (11425)
  • [2007-06-26 9:59]

Hi Sylvio
Very impressive capture.Sharpness and colors are perfect.Lovely details and excellent POV¸
TFS and chiao Michel

hi silvio,
lovely shot, well composed, you got the insect flying, excellent work,
tfs & regards

eccellente cattura e ben definita!
Salutami il tuo "amico".

Ciao e grazie, Emanuele

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2007-06-26 10:33]

Hi Silvio,

You have outdone yourself with this one - just wonderful. The Hummingbird Hawkmoth in action is perfect - razor sharp. Beautiful flower - wonderful colors - excellent composition.


encore mieux que la precedents silvio,j'en suis jaloux.

  • Great 
  • demeve Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 586 W: 12 N: 1682] (6165)
  • [2007-06-26 10:41]

Hello Silvio, amazing capture and macro work, great POV and composition, the image is very sharp and colorful, the BG is very beautiful..well done..

Hello Silvio.
Wow! That has to be a fast shutter speed. What an amazing capture. Perfect all round. Great light, colour and composition. Very well done.
Best regards, Steve.

This is a far superior shot of the Hummingbird moth than your previous one, Silvio.
The moth has been very well captured in this image. The angle of vision is perfect, giving a sharp and clear view of the insect as it hovers with its proboscis in the flower.
A very attractive composition too.
Well done and regards.

  • Great 
  • dew77 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4432 W: 248 N: 4028] (13270)
  • [2007-06-26 11:43]
  • [+]

Hello Silvio,
Another great in flight capture.POV,exposure,use of light are perfect.

Gran bella foto. Bella composizione, ottimi colori, perfetta pdc. Ipse dixit :)


  • Great 
  • ridvan Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 498 W: 0 N: 1136] (5205)
  • [2007-06-26 14:45]

selam silvio; wow excellent shot of this lovely flower and the moth, very good details presented nice POV well captured with splendid colours TFS

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  • JPlumb Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 618 W: 158 N: 896] (2904)
  • [2007-06-26 23:44]

Hi Silvio, this is an excellent in-flight capture of this Hummingbird Hawk-moth. The detail, especially with the proboscis extended to the flower, is amazing. Colour and detail are both excellent, and your depth of field was very appropriate for this shot, with the blurred background.

Thanks, John

Hi Silvio,
Great shot with excellent action capture.TFS.


Great capture Silvio.
Sharpness, clarity and exposure are spot on. My compliments for that.
Colors, details and soft BG are wonderful.
I personally would have cropped a small part from the left side though.
There imho is to much empty space wich does'nt add to the image.
Nevertheless a beauty to look at.
Thanks for sharing.
Kind regards, Harry

Magnifique, une merveille, saisir cet oiseau avec sa longue trompe pour bien se nourrir, belles couleurs et beaux détails.

  • Great 
  • pvb Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 385 W: 16 N: 531] (1981)
  • [2007-06-28 7:08]

Hi Silvio,
This is a great action shot of this insect. I see that you have captured 2 insects. Good composition, pov and colours.
TFS Paula

Hola Silvio,
Muy linda foto, parece un colibrí esa mariposa que está libando ese cardo, solo que con una lengua larguísima. La composición y la luz están excelentes, así como el fondo borroso. también se ve un escarabajo compartiendo la flor.
Saludos cordiales

Hello Silvio a superb sharp catch fine detail excellent pov and nice colour tfs rgds Necip.

  • Great 
  • jmp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1659 W: 95 N: 2273] (8415)
  • [2007-07-01 9:13]

Hi Silvio,
Great timing, focus, details and dof. A perfect capture!
TFS, José M.

  • Great 
  • ddg Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 867 W: 24 N: 1008] (5507)
  • [2007-07-03 5:23]

Bonjour Silvio, voila de la concurrence serieuse!!! c'est superbe à tout point de vue. félicitations, didier;

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  • Pier Silver Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 25 W: 0 N: 37] (808)
  • [2007-10-24 10:13]

Ciao Silvio quoto tutti gli altri ne ho uno anche io di questo insetto(Scatto) ma non cosi' fantastico come il tuo veramente notevole, che solo chi ha provato a fotografare il tipo qualche volta puo' apprezzare in pieno.
Un saluto cordiale e ancora bravo.

stunningly beautiful, excellent timing to get this capture, a favourite!!

Hello Silvio

Great macro of this insect in-flight and in action,
with the bonus of another insect on the flower,
fine POV and framing, beautiful light,
excellent focus, sharpness, details, TFS


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