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Mom discovers confounding ‘flying shrimp’ creature while walking through her garden: ‘My brain almost self-destructed’

Their wingspans can reach up to three inches.

Coffee bee hawk moth, Walking through garden

Photo Credit: iStock

There are garden pests, and then there are garden wonders.

A couple of years ago, a Redditor from Manila, Philippines, took to r/insects for help in identifying a winged creature perhaps unlike anything you’ve seen.

The creature looked like a moth and sported unique translucent wings, wide eyes, and thick black antennae. Its velvety thorax was green, and its white, red, and yellow abdomen featured a fluffy black lobster tail.

Coffee bee hawk moth
Photo Credit: u/B1ackfir3 / Reddit
Coffee bee hawk moth
Photo Credit: u/B1ackfir3 / Reddit

“My mom took a picture of this insect in our garden,” the poster wrote. “Does anyone know what it’s called?”

Users named the pellucid hawk moth, or coffee bee hawk moth.

“I saw one of these when I was little at the butterfly bush in my mom’s garden,” one said. “My brain almost self-destructed trying to parse out if it was a bug or a humming bird.”

The pellucid hawk moth is a cross among a moth, cicada, and glasswinged butterfly.

Its wings decrease the reflectance of most light by nearly 50%, which makes them “nearly imperceptible to other insect and vertebrate predators and parasites,” according to science writer Bec Crew.

The moths are native to Africa, Southeast Asia, and Australia, and their wingspans can reach up to three inches. They are diurnal, feed on coffee and pomegranate plants, and make a humming sound when under stress. Adults live for one month.

Even though they don’t have much of a lifespan, moths are an indicator species. They are prey for birds, mammals, and even other insects and also play the role of pollinators.

Many commenters noted the insect looked like a crustacean, and one even said it resembled a fishing lure.

“It’s called a fling rainbow crawfish,” another user joked. “Also known as the random air lobster.”

One said, “The first time I saw one I thought it was a flying shrimp, I may have been very dehydrated.”

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