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Species Hemaris diffinis - Snowberry Clearwing - Hodges#7855

color phases in Hemaris caterpillars - Hemaris diffinis Some type hornworm - Hemaris diffinis Snowberry Clearwing Brown - Hemaris diffinis Snowberry Clearwing caterpillar - Hemaris diffinis Sphingidae, Snowberry Clearwing, prepupa, lateral - Hemaris diffinis Frostweed Caterpillar 091015 - Hemaris diffinis Green caterpillar on trumpet honeysuckle - Hemaris diffinis Green caterpillar on amsonia - Hemaris diffinis
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 diffinis (Snowberry Clearwing - Hodges#7855)
Hodges Number
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Hemaris diffinis (Boisduval, 1836)
Explanation of Names
Probably derived from post-classical Latin: there is a verb diffinio "to terminate", and the prefix dis- regularly changes to dif- when added to a word that starts with "f". No direct evidence found yet of its exact meaning
Wingspan 35-50 mm
Larva to 45 mm
Adult: forewing clear area lacks partial crossband of dark scales near base; legs black; underside mostly black.

Larva: body usually green with black spots encircling spiracles, "leading edge of thorax yellow, with prominent granules, extended over back of head. Horn long, yellow at base, black from middle to apex."(1) A brown form also occurs.
Much of North America except Alaska, Yukon, Nunavut, and Newfoundland
Edges, fields with flowers. Adults feed actively on flower nectar during the day while hovering at blossoms.
Adults fly from March to September (two broods) in the south; shorter season in the north.
Adults feed on flower nectar. See Life Cycle for larval food.
Life Cycle
Two generations per year. Larvae feed on dogbane (Apocynum), honeysuckle (Lonicera), bush honeysuckle (Diervilla), and snowberry (Symphoricarpos). In Piedmont, North Carolina, seem to prefer the native Coral Honeysuckle, Lonicera sempervirens.
1. egg. 2. first instar. 3 and 4 later instars. 5. pupa.
Interesting behavior:
See Also
Hummingbird Clearwing (Hemaris thysbe) forewing clear area has partial crossband of dark scales near base, and legs are pale/whitish
Slender Clearwing (Hemaris gracilis) forewing clear area has partial crossband of dark scales near base, and legs are reddish
Print References
Wagner, p. 267 (1)
Covell, p. 40, plate 6 #19 (2)
Himmelman, plate C-4, photo of adult (3)
Salsbury, p. 326--photo of specimen, adult (4)
Internet References
Butterflies and Moths of North America pinned adult image by Paul Opler, plus US distribution map and species account (
Maryland Moths live adult images plus dates and locations (Larry Line, Maryland)
Histoire naturelle des insectes; spécies général des lépidoptères, v.1 plates, pl.15, fig.2    The illustration and caption that constitute Boisduval's first use of the name for this species.
Works Cited
1.Caterpillars of Eastern North America
David L. Wagner. 2005. Princeton University Press.
2.Peterson Field Guides: Eastern Moths
Charles V. Covell. 1984. Houghton Mifflin Company.
3.Discovering Moths: Nighttime Jewels in Your Own Backyard
John Himmelman. 2002. Down East Books.
4.Insects in Kansas
Glenn A. Salsbury and Stephan C. White. 2000. Kansas Dept. of Agriculture.