Hummingbird Hawkmoth visits papaya flowers

posted in: Butterflies and Moths, Fauna, Plants | 0

HummingbirdHawkMoth-papaya [KaryneWee].jpu

Karyne Wee’s image above shows a Hummingbird Hawkmoth (Macroglossum sp.) hovering in front of a male papaya (Carica papaya) flower. It is actively harvesting nectar with its long proboscis inserted inside the flower. In the process pollen from the stamens will be transferred to the hawkmoth.

papaya-m pt [wyc]

Papaya plants bear either male or female flowers. Thus when this hawkmoth visits a female plant, it will transfer the pollen to the stigmas of the female flowers (above). It thus play an important role in the pollination of papaya plants, as seen in the plant below covered with fruits.

Female papaya plant laden with fruits

There are at least 7 species of Hummingbird Hawkmoth in Singapore. They are diurnal and fast-flying. Their relatively large bodies have elongated tail-feather-like scales on the tip of the abdomen. They feed with their long proboscis while hovering in front of the flowers just like the hummingbirds of the New World tropics, thus the common name.

An earlier post shows a Macroglossum sitiene taking nectar from the flowers of Wrightia religiosa, commonly known as Wild Water Plum or sui-mui in Cantonese. Another post shows a Macroglossum sp. visiting an unknown plant.

Karyne Wee
12th August 2016

Image of Hummingbird Hawkmoth by Karyne Wee, others by YC Wee

This post is a cooperative effort between Birds, Insects N Creatures Of Asia and BESG to bring the study of birds and their behavior through photography and videography to a wider audience.


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