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Humming-bird Hawk-moth
Macroglossum stellatarum (Linnaeus, 1758)
Sphingidae: Macroglossinae
1984 / 69.010
Photo © Chris Cox,  Keyingham 06/07/2023

Similar Yorkshire Species: None
Forewing: 20-24mm.
Flight: April - December (mostly August - September)
Foodplant:   Lady's Bedstraw, other bedstraws, Wild Madder
Red List: Least Concern (LC)
GB Status: Common / Immigrant
Former Status: Immigrant
Verification Grade:  Adult: 1

Yorkshire Status: Fairly widespread migrant/wanderer.

Numbers of this migrant species seem to have increased substantially in recent years. It is not obvious how much is a genuine increase and how much is due to more observer effort and the use of on-line recording schemes. It is seen regularly all over the county. Maximum numbers of records have been 730 in 2011 and 709 in 2015. If you want to attract this species to your garden, you might like to make its favourite nectar sources available. The commonest nectar plants appear to be red valerian, buddleia, Verbena bonariensis, honeysuckle and lavender. Reds and purples seem to be the favourite colours. We often receive records in March and April. It is difficult to know if these are due to over-wintering adults or early migration. We occasionally get records of larvae, most commonly on lady's bedstraw, and these have at times been bred through to the adult. Its native range is Southern Europe, North Africa, and across Asia to Japan. It is a great wanderer though it apparently has a good memory as moths are said to return to the same patches of flowers every day at about the same time.

Sutton & Beaumont, 1989: A regular migrant with several being reported in the County in most years although, as with many immigrants, most frequently near the coast. Recorded from vice-counties 61 to 64 and known to have bred in South Yorkshire in 1976 (JRB pers. comm.).

Recorded in 179 (90%) of 200 10k Squares.
First Recorded in 1865.
Last Recorded in 2023.
Additional Stats

Latest 5 Records
Date#VC10k Area
08/11/2023163SE51 - Askern
18/10/2023162NZ61 - Guisborough
18/10/2023164SE55 - York (N/W)
17/10/2023162TA08 - Scarborough
15/10/2023161SE93 - South Cave
Further info: Macroglossum stellatarum
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