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Species Hemaris gracilis - Slender Clearwing - Hodges#7854

Hemaris gracilis Hemaris gracilis Hemaris gracilis Hemaris gracilis - male Hemaris gracilis Hemaris gracilis Slender Clearwing Moth - Hemaris gracilis - Hemaris gracilis Hemaris gracilis
Show images of: caterpillars · adults · both
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths)
Superfamily Bombycoidea (Silkworm, Sphinx, and Royal Moths)
Family Sphingidae (Sphinx Moths)
Subfamily Macroglossinae
Tribe Dilophonotini
Genus Hemaris
Species gracilis (Slender Clearwing - Hodges#7854)
Hodges Number
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
First described in 1865 by Augustus Radcliffe Grote and Coleman Townsend Robinson as Haemorrhagia gracilis
Explanation of Names
gracilis is Latin for "slender, slight"
Wingspan 40-45 mm
Adults - forewing clear area has partial crossband of dark scales near base, and distal margin of clear area is even or smooth-edged (not ragged-edged); legs reddish (vs. pale/white in thysbe and black in diffinis)

Larvae - mostly green with a short dark horn (1)
Eastern North America: North Dakota and Saskatchewan to Nova Scotia, south along coast to central Florida. Apparently uncommon and local.
acidic soils, most often pine woodland, including pitch and jack pine barrens, with an ericaceous understory. Also bogs and open heathlands and acidic oak and oak-pine forests in some locals (1)
Adults fly from May (March in south) to August; likely two broods.
Larvae feed on heaths, including Blue Ridge Blueberry (Vaccinium pallidum [=vacillans]), and laurel (Kalmia).
Adults take nectar, mostly in the afternoon of warm (above 21C) days (1)
Life Cycle
One or two generations per year. Eggs are laid singly on host plant leaves and hatch in about 6 days. Larva mature in a month and spin a cocoon on the soil surface where they usually reamin dormant until the following spring. Some pupae may diapause over two winters (1)
diurnal, does not come to lights. Only found in small numbers even in the proper habitat (1)
See Also
Hummingbird Clearwing (Hemaris thysbe) forewing clear area distal margin is uneven or ragged-edged (not smooth-edged), and legs are pale/whitish
Snowberry Clearwing (Hemaris diffinis) forewing clear area lacks partial crossband of dark scales near base, and legs are black
Print References
Covell, p. 40, plate 6 #17 (2)
Internet References
pinned adult image by Paul Opler, plus US distribution map and species account (
Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Philadelphia, v.5, p.174    Grote's and Robinson's original description of the species.
Works Cited
1.Rare, Declining, and Poorly Known Butterflies and Moths of Forests and Woodlands in the Eastern United States
Dale F. Schweitzer, Marc C. Minno, David L. Wagner. 2011. U.S. Forest Service, Forest Health Technology Enterprise Team, FHTET-2011-01. .
2.Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America
Charles V. Covell, Jr. 2005.