The activities of these little moths resemble the actions of humming birds, this is known in the trade as ‘parallel evolution’. Anyway one was visiting some flowers in the garden yesterday so I decided to have a go at photographing it. As it was not so sunny I upped the ISO so I could use a high shutter speed with the hope of freezing its movements. Which it did for its body but as you can see the wings are just a blur.
I suppose if it beat its wings at 320 times a second then taking the photo at 1/640th would still mean that the wing would have travelled 1/2 a wing beat in the time the shutter was open and so the image would still be blurred.
As always if you google for the answer you find out all sorts of stuff and sometimes you even get the answer you are looking for. One interesting bit of information I found is that these little animals have a good memory and a set pattern of behaviour and will visit the same flowers at the same time each day. This was obtained at http://www.visionresearch.com/hawk-moth
At another site by BBC Surrey they claim that the wings beat 80 times a second, this seems a bit slow to me and if its true then with a shutter speed of 1/640 it would only have moved 1/8th of a wing beat, which would make for a blurred photo but not, I would have thought, as blurred as the one I obtained.
Well if the little chap comes back this afternoon at the same time as it is purported to do I will try again and this time at 1/1,000th of a second.