Hawk Moths - Amazing Hovercraft
With names that include "Sphinx Moth", "Hornworm", and the scientific family name of "Sphingidae", the over 1,400 species that are considered hawk moths are quite diverse. They exist mostly in the tropics, but can be found all over the world in a variety of climates, and they're known for their distinct flying ability.
They can soar rapidly and for long periods of time, with some species even possessing hovering abilities that see them confused with hummingbirds. They are one of only four nectar-feeding creatures in existence that can hover, but have also been studied because of their ability to strafe side to side while hovering, a practice known as "swing hovering". This is suspected to have evolved because of a need to avoid predators like birds and bats. Speed wise, they've been observed flying over 12 miles per hours, while is basically light-speed for a creature their size.
They have wingspans that depend on their specific species and needs, with the smallest species having spans of about and inch, with the larger having about a few inches of span. Like all moths, they start out as caterpillars, but once they emerge from their cocoon, they have a life expectancy of 10 to 40 days. This is actually long for an insect, so don't feel too bad for them! They're a truly impressive group of species who show no signs of pending extinction.