Thursday, September 01, 2005

COM: Not-Really-a-Cat-Friday

Time again for Not-Really-a-Cat-Friday, and my weekly submission to the critters carnival The Friday Ark at The Modulator. Okay, i have another moth today. This is one that was brought up by a post at the TexBirds listserv today. Birders have long been confused by day-flying moths in the Sphingidae, or Sphinx Moth, family. In particular, a couple are often reported as hummingbirds -- the Hummingbird Clearwing and the Snowberry Clearwing. And worse, they are reported as Black-crested Coquettes, a species never before confirmed in the U.S.

These days whenever a Coquette is reported, most birders know to roll their eyes and suggest a moth. But everyyear new birders get taken in by the reports. And, quite frankly, at first glance the moths are dang good mimics. But a close look will reveal antennae -- a character that easily separates the feathered from the scaled.

So here's a look at a Snowberry Clearwing, Hemaris diffinis, that i photographed at Dakota Vervain 6 April 2003 (Kerr County, Texas).

Snowberry Clearwing, Hemaris diffinis





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