Moths of the family Sphingidae are commonly known as hawkmoths because of the powerful flight or even hovering ability of some species. This group includes around 1,450 described species in around 200 genera.

hummingbird moth

Hummingbird moth, feeding © Iron Chris

Hawkmoths are most diverse in the tropics and can range in size from quite small (25mm wingspan) to very large (over 300mm wingspan).


Some species, like the hummingbird hawkmoth, are perfectly evolved for collecting nectar by having long proboscises and being able to hover in front of flowers.  

Others have bright colours or fake eyespots on their hindwings for scaring predators.