Hemaris tityus (Linnaeus, 1758)


Hemaris tityus: Fresh adult [S] Hemaris tityus: Fresh adult [S] Hemaris tityus: Detail [S] Hemaris tityus: Adult lateral [S] Hemaris tityus: Adult which was already on the wing [S] Hemaris tityus: Adult which was already on the wing [S] Hemaris tityus: Adult which was already on the wing [S] Hemaris tityus: Adult (e.l. Mount Olympus, Greece) [S] Hemaris tityus: Adult, fresh (e.l. Rätikon) [S] Hemaris tityus: Adult, already older [S] Hemaris tityus: Ovum (western Swabian Alb, Southern Germany, late May 2011) [M] Hemaris tityus: Ovum (Valais, early June 2010) [N] Hemaris tityus: Ovum (Valais, Switzerland) [N] Hemaris tityus: L1-larva [S] Hemaris tityus: L1 [S] Hemaris tityus: L1-larvae (Valais) [M] Hemaris tityus: L2 [S] Hemaris tityus: L2-larva (Swabian Alb, Southern Germany, June 2011) [S] Hemaris tityus: L2-larva [S] Hemaris tityus: Young larva [M] Hemaris tityus: L3-larva (Swabian Alb, Southern Germany, June 2011) [M] Hemaris tityus: L3-larva (Swabian Alb, Southern Germany, June 2011) [M] Hemaris tityus: Larva in penultimate instar (Swabian Alb, Southern Germany, June 2011) [M] Hemaris tityus: Larva in penultimate instar (Schwä [S] Hemaris tityus: Larva in penultimate instar Hemaris tityus: Larva [S] Hemaris tityus: Larva [S] Hemaris tityus: Larva [S] Hemaris tityus: Larva [S] Hemaris tityus: Larva (Swabian Alb, Southern Germany, late June 2011) [N] Hemaris tityus: Larva (Swabian Alb, Southern Germany, late June 2011) [N] Hemaris tityus: Larva (Swabian Alb, Southern Germany, late June 2011) [N] Hemaris tityus: Larva, richly sketched [M] Hemaris tityus: Larva [S] Hemaris tityus: Larva [S] Hemaris tityus: Larva, rarer brown color form (Mount Olympus, 2000m asl, July) [M] Hemaris tityus: Larva [S] Hemaris tityus: Larva Hemaris tityus: Larva Hemaris tityus: Pupa [S] Hemaris tityus: Pupa [S] Hemaris tityus: Pupa: kremaster [S] Hemaris tityus: Habitat (larvae at Scabiosa lucida) in the Montafon (western Austria) on 1800 m above sea level [N] Hemaris tityus: Habitat in the Swiss Valais: larvae at Knautia arvensis [N] Hemaris tityus: Knautia arvensis with eggs (SW-Swabian Alb, Germany near Sigmaringen, late May 2011) [N] Hemaris tityus: Knautia arvensis with eggs (SW-Swabian Alb, Germany near Sigmaringen, late May 2011) [N] Hemaris tityus: Habitat on the SW-Swabian Alb, Germany near Sigmaringen in the May 2011: nutrient-poor flowery meadow with a small stony field. At the border to this field I observed many eggs in late May. [N] Hemaris tityus: Habitat on the SW-Swabian Alb, Germany near Sigmaringen in the May 2011: nutrient-poor flowery meadow with a small stony field. At the border to this field I observed many eggs in late May. [N] Hemaris tityus: Unfortunately the meadow (see preceding photos) was already mown in late June (Photo: 01/07/2011) at the time of the fully-grown larvae. Most larvae should have died. Only a few individuals survived directly at the borderline. Unfortunately the former extensively managed field was planted with corn and will probably change into a nutrient-rich intense filed in the future.    [N]

Host plants:
The larva feeds on Dipsacaceae such as Knautia arvensis in lower altitudes and Scabiosa lucida in the Alps.

Habitat:
Hemaris tityus often colonizes rupicolous, nutrient-poor meadows with sufficient size, preferably along forest edges. In the Alps it often occurs on gappy, stony and eroded slopes near forests. Locally Hemaris tityus can be observed in calcareous fens with Succisa pratensis.

On the western Swabian Alb (Germany) I observed adults, caterpillars and eggs in and especially on the margins of calcareous grassland, often near the forest. The eggs were deposited on the edge of the areas in the transition region to stony calcareous fields or at gappy, moss-rich places.

Life cycle:
Hemaris tityus hibernates in the pupal stage as all of the native Spingidae of Central Europe (but see Macroglossum stellatarum). The moth often has a very partial second generation in the lowlands in August. Otherwise, the flight time is from May to early August (in the mountains). Caterpillars are found from June to early October with maximum in June/July. In the Austrian Rätikon I observed caterpillars at all stages on Scabiosa lucida in about 1700-1800m above sea level in August.

Endangerment: strongly endangered

Endangerment factors:
In the lowlands this rather demanding species is endangered by the decline of nutrient-poor grasslands (intensification, fragmentation, afforestation, overbuilding) and because of overgrowth of the habitats (succession after abandonment of extensive grazing/mowing). For example, this species has completely disappeared from the Iller Valley in Southern Germany due to the destruction of all nutrient-poor grasslands in the context of the former Iller floodplain woodland.
Oviposition takes place only in at that time low growing areas. Only locally Hemaris tityus can be still observed more frequently. In the Alps it is nearly exterminated in most of the valleys, but is less endangered at higher altitudes.

Remarks:
With the first flights the adults lose their scales in certain areas of the wing as the related H. fuciformis and are then not unlike bumblebees because of their diurnal activity. But they never sit down on the nectar plants, but are buzzing like a hummingbirds. The distribution of Hemaris tityus extends from Northwest Africa across large parts of Europe (excluding Northern Scandinavia) to China. North of the Alps, Hemaris tityus has been extirpated in many areas (habitat loss).



Hemaris croatica | Hemaris fuciformis