My experience with the Hummingbird Hawkmoth

on 10th April 2016

Foo Jit Leang passed me a pupa of Hummingbird Hawkmoth (Macroglossum sitiene) on 13th March 2016. The next day he messaged me that the pupa would probably eclose on the evening of the next day. As luck would have it, the hawkmoth emerged from the pupa around 0400-0500 hours the next day

Hummingbird Hawkmoth (Macroglossum sitiene) daylight

“The eclosed moth sneaked out between the bars of the cage where it clung on to dry its wings. Placing it on a twig, it allowed me time for photography (above). When it was light, the hawkmoth was still on the branch. I set up the video hoping to catch it flapping its wings to strengthen them before flying off. It stayed still for about half an hour before it suddenly flew off (below).

“A few day later I was invited to the Seletar Country Club Butterfly Garden by Jit Leang where he “loaned” me a recently eclosed Hummingbird Hawkmoth that he was about to release.

“I brought the hawkmoth home in a plastic container where it was left until the next morning. It was then cautiously brought out of the container and placed on a twig of Wild Water Plum or sui-mui in Cantonese (Wrightia religiosa) to allow it to feed on the nectar of the flowers, as suggested by Jit Leang. I was ready for it to fly off immediately, although in the container it looked exhausted and lying on the base.

“It was transferred from my fingers to the twig where it immediately flapped its wings and flew around. It must have been hungry as it began hovering in front of the small flowers, probing them with its extra long proboscis. It spent a few minutes flying around the twig and feeding on the flowers. This allowed me to video the unexpected event – see above.

“It was an exciting moment for me to be able to capture it feeding on the flowers. The hawkmoth then flew off after its morning feed. Well, it was released after all, although not around the Seletar Butterfly Garden.”

YC Wee
20th March 2016

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

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