Other Common Names
Bee Hawk-Moths (UK)
Clearwing Moths (not recommended because the family Sesiidae
has that common name)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Explanation of Names
Perhaps from the Greek hemera
(ημερα), meaning day (1)
, possibly referring to the day-flying habits (PDF factsheet
on Hemaris tityus
, a European species).
Another possibility is hema- "blood" + -aris "of, pertaining to". hema is an alternate spelling of haema, which is from Greek haima (αιμα)- "blood", which usually adds a "t" when combined (Greek neuters follow different rules from other words ending with "a"), while -aris is strictly a Latin suffix. The two parts shouldn't go together at all, but someone coining a name doesn't have to follow the rules.
4 species in North America listed at All-Leps
: diffinis, gracilis, thetis, thysbe
About 17 species total--Holarctic
Adults are easy to identify to genus level due to their habit of hovering around flowers like bumblebees; see individual species pages for identification to species level.
Represented throughout North America, including the Arctic.
Larvae feed on a variety of plants from several families, Apocynaceae, Caprifoliaceae, Ericaceae, Rosaceae.
Adults take nectar, preferably from long throated flowers, such as horse mint and are pollinators.
pinned adult images
of all 4 North American species (CBIF)
US distribution maps and other info on diffinis, gracilis, thetis (senta), thysbe
distribution in Canada
of all 4 species, listing provinces and territories (CBIF)