Surname: Dove tail
Other names: Hummingbird warbler, pigeon tail
Latin name: Macroglossum stellatarum
size: 4 - 8 mm
mass: 0.3 g
Older: 24 Months
Appearance: gray-brown wings, tufts on the abdomen, proboscis
Sexual dimorphism: No
Nutrition type: Herbivore (herbivor) or Nectareater (nektarivor)
food: as a caterpillar foliage, as a butterfly nectar
distribution: Europe, North Africa, Asia
original origin: unknown
Sleep-wake rhythm: diurnal
habitat: Gardens, forests and meadows with nectar-rich plants
natural enemies: various species of birds, parasitic wasp
sexual maturity: with the development to the Imago (butterfly)
mating season: May until October
oviposition: 100 - 200 eggs
Threatened with extinction: No
Further profiles of animals can be found in the Encyclopaedia.
Interesting facts about the pigeon tail
- The pigeon tail or Macroglossum stellatarum describes a moth counted to the swarmers, which is widespread throughout Central Europe and in much of Asia to Japan, North Africa and the Middle East.
- The German Taubenschwänzchen owes its German name to its tuft lying on the abdomen, which reminds of the tail feathers of a dove by the two-part form and the greyish coloring.
- In German-speaking countries, the term "hummingbird warmer" has also prevailed, which refers to the characteristic buzzing flight behavior of the butterfly.
- The pigeon tail is found in different habitats with the exception of dense forests and can often be observed in cities in the summer, as it is attracted by flowering plants in gardens, parks and on balconies.
- It reaches wing spans of up to eight millimeters and has a densely hairy, as the forewings gray-brown colored thorax. The small hind wings appear in a bright orange brown, which also shows on the bottom. Striking is also the nearly three centimeters long proboscis.
- Although the pigeon tail is assigned to the moths due to its inconspicuous gray color, this butterfly flies mostly during the day and is rarely active at dusk and at night.
- Pigeon tails also tolerate low temperatures by increasing their body temperature through the so-called heat shivering. Summer heat during noon hours is generally avoided.
- Taubenschwänzchen are sociable moths, which gather in the evening in common sleeping places. These are usually warm rocks that are illuminated by the sun during the day. There, pigeon taillets also find their sexual partners.
- With their whirring flight, pigeon taillets move from flower to flower at lightning speed to absorb large quantities of nectar within a very short time. With the long proboscis, they also reach nectar deep in calyx, which is not accessible to most flying insects.
- They often remain faithful to their sleeping and feeding places until the end of their lives.
- After mating, which may take up to two hours, the female staples up to two hundred eggs individually to young flower buds.
- The caterpillars appear in two generations between June and early October. The Central European populations return to their winter quarters in southern Europe in autumn.
- On their migrations, pigeon taillets can cover distances of up to two thousand kilometers and are therefore even to be found in Scandinavia in summer.