An Oriental Bee Hawk feeding on the flowers of Plumbago auriculata in our garden at Jansenville in the Eastern Cape of South Africa.
The Oriental Bee Hawk is a day-flying moth with translucent, hyaline wings and a greenish-yellow body that resembles a large bee, presumably to scare off potential predators. All colours to abdomen and thorax have dark edging, and black ‘fans’ appear from the tip of the abdomen when in flight. Adults feed during the day while hovering with spread abdominal fan of black hairs.
The Pellucid Hawk Moth (Cephonodes hylas) is a moth of the family Sphingidae. There are a few common species in Africa, such as Cephonodes hylas virescens (the Oriental Bee Hawk), Leucostrophus hirundo and Macroglossum trochilus and are diurnal.
Sphingids have been much studied for their flying ability, especially their ability to move rapidly from side to side while hovering, called ‘swing-hovering’ or ‘side-slipping.’ They are some of the faster flying insects. Most adults feed on nectar.
The larvae can be green, black or brown with pale longitudinal lines and spotting, and with a black curved horn at the rear.
Camera: CanonEOS 500D