These beautiful day-active moths can certainly make you think you are seeing a bumblebee or even a small hummingbird. They typically hover above flowers while feeding, much like a hummingbird. They emerge from the cocoon with scales fully covering their wings. However, their rapid wing beats quickly cause the scales to fall off, revealing the moth’s namesake clear wings. Larvae feed on leaves of snowberry and honeysuckles.  

This is closely related to the Snowberry Clearwing Moth (Hemaris diffinis) and in fact was only recently split off into its own species. H. diffinis seems to be more likely east of the divide in Montana and H. thetis west of the divide, though it seems like both can be found here. They look pretty similar, so only good views can help distinguish them.

Photos by: Kristi DuBois on 5/11/21 in Missoula, MT