Sphingidae : Macroglossinae
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Photo © Ben Sale,  Stevenage, Hertfordshire (26/07/20)

Immature stages

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Humming-bird Hawk-moth
Macroglossum stellatarum

(Linnaeus, 1758) 1984 / 69.010

General notes:
Ubiquitous. Immigrant and partial resident. Since the 1990s, immigrant numbers have increased considerably and the species is now an expected sight every year in domestic gardens and elsewhere. It was until recently not known to survive our winters and so residency did not occur. Remember - finding one asleep in a garden shed in February is not proof of over-wintering! You need to wait and see if it eventually wakes up and takes flight! Since the 1990s, increasing reports have arisen affecting the early months of the year (February and March), though it still remains nigh on impossible to be certain if these were winter survivors or fresh immigrants. There is a measure of synchronicity between south-east British and Continental European moths - they all seem to emerge at the same time. This maintains the impossibility of knowing whether our spring moths are residents or fresh arrivals. Records of larvae are of greater importance.

Hertfordshire Notes:
Records are too numerous to list individually. In recent years it has been seen increasingly often across the county and is often reported by "non-mothers". The first record is the illustration of a Hertford area specimen in J. F. Stephens' Illustrations of British Entomology : 134 (1828). It was also listed for the Sandridge area (Griffith, 1884) and for the Haileybury College area (Bowyer, 1888). Gibbs (1889), lists it for St Albans and Foster (1937) says that it was 'recorded from all districts, occasionally fairly common'. There are further records from Tring, in June 1943 (J. J. Flower) and Dudswell in the same year ('several' : J. J. Bell). Adults were bred from larvae found feeding on Red Valerian 'a most unusual food-plant' at Bishops Stortford in 1947 (Clifford Craufurd) and my daughter Rosie Plant found a mature larva wandering across the pavement in West Road, Bishops Stortford, evidently looking for a pupation site, in July 2003. Bell (1977) reports numerous Hertfordshire reports in 1976, but lists none of them and has left no archive. 2003 was an unusually good year for this species. Details of all Hertfordshire records for which data are available are stored on the Herts Moth Database.

Middlesex Notes:
Former scarce immigrant that has become a regular, annual immigrant over the past twenty or so years.

Recorded in 38 (93%) of 41 10k Squares.
First Recorded in 1887.
Last Recorded in 2023.
Additional Stats

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List Species Records   [Show All Latest]
Latest 5 Records
Date#VC10k Area
30/10/2023120TL21 - Welwyn Garden City
23/10/2023120TL21 - Welwyn Garden City
20/10/2023121TQ39 - Enfield / Southgate / Edmonton
17/10/2023121TQ18 - Harrow / Wembley / Ealing
16/10/2023120TL21 - Welwyn Garden City
Show Details | 1990 to 2023 | 2000 to 2023 | Graph Key
Express Record Humming-bird Hawk-moth
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VC20 VC21 VC21 VC20
Click Map for Details
Forewing: 20-24mm.
Flight: April-December. (mostly Aug-Sept)
Foodplant:   Lady's Bedstraw, other bedstraws Wild Madder
Red List: Least Concern (LC)
GB Status: Common / Immigrant
Former Status: Immigrant
Verification Grade:  Adult: 1
 Immature Adult   [Show Flight Weeks]
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