Hemaris diffinis

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Snowberry clearwing
(Hemaris diffinis) Augusta, Michigan
Not evaluated (IUCN 3.1)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Sphingidae
Genus: Hemaris
Species: H. diffinis
Binomial name
Hemaris diffinis
(Boisduval 1836)[1]
  • Macroglossa diffinis Boisduval, 1836
  • Macroglossa aethra Strecker, 1875
  • Macroglossa fumosa Strecker, 1874
  • Sesia axillaris Grote & Robinson, 1868
  • Sesia grotei Butler, 1874
  • Hemaris tenuis Grote, 1873
  • Hemaris metathetis Butler, 1876
  • Hemaris marginalis Grote, 1873
  • Haemorrhagia ariadne Barnes & McDunnough, 1910

Hemaris diffinis, the snowberry clearwing, is a moth of the order Lepidoptera, family Sphingidae. This moth is sometimes called "hummingbird moth" or "flying lobster". This moth should not be confused with the hummingbird hawk-moth of Europe.


It is about 32–51 millimetres (1.25–2 in). The moth's abdomen has yellow and black segments much like those of the bumblebee, for whom it might be mistaken due to its color and flight pattern similarities. The moth's wings lack the large amount of scales found in most other lepidopterans, particularly in the centralized regions, making them appear clear. It loses the scales on its wings early after the pupa stage by its highly active flight tendencies. It flies during the daylight much like the other hummingbird moths, but it may also continue flight into the evening, particularly if it has found a good source of nectar.


The moth is found from the Northwest Territories, British Columbia, southern Ontario and in western Quebec in Canada. In the United States this species has been located in southern California and Baja California Norte, Illinois, east through most of the United States from Maine to West Virginia to Florida.

Food plants[edit]

The larvae feed on plants including honeysuckle, viburnum, hawthorn, snowberry, cherry, mint, and plum.

Regional names[edit]

Hemaris diffinis is notable for its colorful nicknames. In certain parts of Appalachia, including West Virginia, Hemaris diffinis is known as "hummingbird moth" or "flying lobster". These nicknames are derived from its supposed physical resemblance to other (genetically unrelated) animals.



  1. ^ "CATE Creating a Taxonomic eScience - Sphingidae". Cate-sphingidae.org. Archived from the original on 2012-11-10. Retrieved 2011-10-19. 

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