Virginia Creeper Clearwing
Head: Black. Nose cone (palpi) reaches to top of eyes; entirely black on female; some yellow on underside on male.
Antenna: White; base grayish-black, variable, sometimes covering up to half of the antenna; tips black, curved. Male: yellow on top side instead of white; underside orange.
Thorax: Black with various amounts of whitish scale. Usually more yellow defined as lines on the male.
Wings: Female front wings solid shiny black with a reddish-orange dash at 2/3 wing length (discal cell). Male front wing transparent with a large black area at 2/3 wing length with a reddish-orange dash like the female. Wing tip area has another large black patch. Hind wings transparent with a black border and fringe.
Legs: Black. Front legs have thick black fringe and pale yellow feet (tarsi). Hind shin (tibiae) has some white.
Abdomen: Black with white tuft each side of first segment. Bands, if any, are faint whitish. Male has large, fan-shaped tuft at tip (not at side edges), sometimes divided in two. Female has a black tuft each side of last abdominal segment, and a small tuft at tip. Underside has some yellow to white scales.
Similar Species: Some Synanthedon have white on the antennae, but are more stout bodied and without the red dash in discal cell.
Size: 11 to 17 mm long. Wingspan 19 to 27 mm.
Habitat: Deciduous forests and forest edges.
Food: Larvae feed on Virginia Creeper Ampelopsis quinquefolia and Boston Ivy Ampelopsis. Reports of Ash trees are in error, confused with Podosesia syringae (Trochilium fraxini by Lugger, 1891), the only Clear-wing that feeds on Ash.
Flight Time: June to August.
Life Cycle: The larva feed on roots at ground level or several inches below. Over-winters as larva. Pupation takes place within the larval galleries the next spring. One generation per year. Larvae yellowish; head mottled brown with a black band across the face.
Comments: Essex County – Ojibway Prairies. Across southern Ontario. Note: DNA species testing at BOLD on Albuna fraxini has only one from Canada – K. Stead, Ontario, July 30, 2015, sent to GenBank #MH592726. Returns a ‘not found’.
For information on synonyms, references and type specimens see next page