A number of times this summer I was visited by a creature that appeared something like a hummingbird but smaller and more insect like in it’s appearance, usually hovering around a phlox or similar tubular flower. This was the Hummingbird Clearwing Moth (Hemaris thysbe) and I was lucky and patient enough to snap a few decent shots of it with my phone’s camera.

Pollinating a list of flowers similar to a hummingbird, I marveled at it’s likewise similar aerial abilities. I wondered about the mechanics of this flight and promised myself that I’d look into it at some point. I was excited today to stumble on a broadcast by[highlight] Science Friday[/highlight] on just this topic. The following video, in which researches blast tiny cannonballs at these hovering creatures (though not the same species as visited me), explains the evolutionary insurance plan these moths have developed in their flight.