Explanation of Names
Macroglossum stellatarum Linnaeus, 1758
Latin Macroglossum, "macro" (large) and "glossa" (tongue) in reference to the long tongue. Latin stellatus, "starry" (in reference to abdomen markings).
Adult: overall dark brownish-grey. Opaque gray forewings and strong orange hindwings unmistakable under reasonable viewing conditions. Abdomen with distal third dark, with three white markings along each margin. "Tail" tufted, black, and fan-shaped.
Across Europe, Africa and Asia. One record from Alaska in the mid 1900s.
Open areas with plentiful nectar sources (open grasslands, meadows, gardens, farmland, etc.). Adults frequently found feeding on nectar of butterfly bush (Buddleia) and other prolific flowers.
Adults feed on nectar. Larvae feed primarily on bedstraw species (Galium), but will utilize other members of Rubiaceae.
A rare vagrant to North America, with only a handful of purported records. A highly migratory species that, with the right supporting conditions, could turn up anywhere in the world.
Edit 9/5/2019: Although it is possible that this species could stray to northeastern North America, MPG and Pohl et al. will continue to list this as extralimital until there is reasonable evidence that it is established. West coast records are most likely stowaways. - Steve Nanz
) much darker overall, and abdomen with transverse pale stripes.
) forewings translucent, pattern dissimilar.