Clearwing Borers Sesiidae

Clearwing Borers Sesiidae


Small to medium sized moths similar in appearance to hornets and wasps. Forewings are long and narrow, hindwings are short and wide. Hindwings are transparent or see-through with veins showing. Quite a few of them also have the front wings transparent. Antenna are long, usually reaching past mid abdomen, tips slightly curved and pointed. Most antenna are black, some have a white section before the black tip and one or two have orange antenna. Male antenna are pectinate or serrated (saw-like). Abdomens are various coloured white, yellow or orange.

These day-flying moths lay their eggs on damaged roots, stems and tree trunks, shrubs and can also use perennials and tree galls. One generation a year.

In Ontario we have 36 species, 1 possible, and 1 extinct species:

Albuna fraxini Virginia Creeper Clearwing
Albuna pyramidalis Fireweed Clearwing
Alcathoe caudata Clematis Clearwing
Carmenta anthracipennis Blazingstar Clearwing
Carmenta bassiformis Ironweed Clearwing
Carmenta corni Aster Clearwing
Carmenta ithacae Oxeye Clearwing – Possible, but not present in Ontario
Carmenta pyralidiformis Boneset Clearwing
Chamaesphecia empiformis European Euphorbia Clearwing – 1 from Hastings County in 2015.
Melittia cucurbitae Squash Vine Clearwing
Synanthedon acerni Maple Callus Clearwing
Synanthedon acerrubri Red Maple Clearwing
Synanthedon bolteri Northern Willow Clearwing
Synanthedon castaneae Chestnut Clearwing – extinct
Synanthedon decipiens Oak Gall Clearwing
Synanthedon exitiosa Peachtree Clearwing
Synanthedon fatifera Arrowwood Clearwing
Synanthedon fulvipes Birch Clearwing
Synanthedon helenis – only in Ontario along Manitoba border
Synanthedon myopaeformis Apple Clearwing
Synanthedon pictipes Lesser Peachtree Clearwing
Synanthedon pini Pitch Mass Clearwing (Pine)
Synanthedon proxima Eastern Willow Clearwing
Synanthedon pyri Apple Bark Clearwing
Synanthedon rubrofascia Black Gum Clearwing
Synanthedon scitula Dogwood Clearwing
Synanthedon tipuliformis Currant Clearwing

Rare, hornet-like (Yellowjacket) with solid yellow stripes on abdomen:
Paranthrene asilipennis Oak Clearwing – 1 specimen at Royal Ontario Museum only record
Paranthrene dollii Poplar Clearwing  – 1 specimen from Lambton County.
Paranthrene pellucida Pin Oak Clearwing
Paranthrene simulans Red Oak Clearwing
Paranthrene tabaniformis European Poplar Clearwing
Pennisetia marginatum Raspberry Crown Clearwing
Podosesia aureocincta Banded Ash Clearwing
Podosesia syringae Lilac Clearwing – reddish head & antenna (black abdomen, no stripes)
Sesia apiformis European Hornet Clearwing (Poplar)
Sesia tibiale American Hornet Clearwing (Poplar & Willow)
Vitacea polistiformis Grape Root Clearwing

Quick ID Clearwing Borers Sesiidae

Quick ID Clearwing Borers Sesiidae
Albuna, Alcathoe, Carmenta, Synanthedon

Four sections:

  1. Solid colored front wings
  2. Red/orange abdomen tuft
  3. White stripe on antenna
  4. All black antenna

Some can fit in more than one category, so use categories in top-down order. Some have male and female different (dimorphic) and may be in 2 different categories.
m & f  = male and female.

Solid Colored Front Wings:
Alcathoe caudata – (m & f) reddish wings, entirely orange antenna and feet; male has long tail

Albuna fraxini – (f) front wing black with a red spot; white stripe on antenna; front legs black, thick fur, feet yellow

Carmenta anthracipennis – (m & f) front wing with a yellow spot; abdomen striped; antenna all black

Carmenta pyralidiformis – (m & f) abdomen segment 4 entirely yellow; yellow stripes on thorax; similar to S. exitiosa female

Synanthedon exitiosa – (f) abdomen segment 4 entirely reddish-orange; no thorax stripes; similar to C. pyralidiformis

Synanthedon pini – (m & f) abdomen sides orange; segment 4 orange; abdomen tuft mostly orange

Synanthedon rubrofascia – (f) abdomen segments 4 and 5 bright reddish-orange

Red/Orange Abdomen Tuft:
Synanthedon acerni – (m & f) antenna entirely black; wing tip area yellow tinted

Synanthedon acerrubri – (m & f) white stripe on antenna; wing tip area black; some black on head; similar to C. corni female

Carmenta corni – (m & f) white stripe on antenna; wing tip area yellow; orange head; male abdomen tip black with orange at sides, usually divided; female similar to S. acerrubri 

White Stripe on Antenna:
Albuna fraxini – (m) antenna, except tips almost entirely white to yellow; front legs have black, thick fur, front feet yellow

Carmenta bassiformis – (m & f) all abdomen segments striped

Synanthedon pyri – (m & f) abdomen every other segment striped, yellow down sides; white stripe on antenna long, ½ length of antenna; similar to C. ithacae which is not in Ontario yet

Carmenta ithacae – (m & f) abdomen every other segment striped, yellow down sides; white stripe on antenna short, ¼ length of antenna; similar to S. pyri – possible in Ontario

Synanthedon bolteri – (m & f) abdomen segments 4 & 5 red; wing margin red

Synanthedon fatifera – (m & f) abdomen black; white spot at sides of 1 and 4

Synanthedon proxima – (m & f) abdomen entirely black; white antenna stripe ½ antenna length

All Black Antenna:
Albuna pyramidalis – (m & f) front wing has red inner margin (closest to body)

Carmenta anthracipennis – (m & f) front wing entirely black with a yellow spot; abdomen entirely narrow striped

Synanthedon decipiens – (m & f) front wing has red discal bar; thorax lower margin yellow

Synanthedon helenis – (m & f) front wing has black discal bar with red spot close to inner margin; thorax black; only on Manitoba border

Synanthedon fulvipes – (m & f) bright orange legs

Synanthedon exitiosa – (m) abdomen entirely black; hind wings yellow tinted; similar to S. pictipes

Synanthedon pictipes – (m & f) white spot at sides of abdomen segment 4; hind wings not tinted yellow; similar to S. exitiosa male

Synanthedon myopaeformis – (m & f) abdomen segment 4 orange; only in London & Mississauga. (newly introduced from Europe)

Synanthedon rubrofascia – (m) abdomen segments 4 & 5 orange; feet white

Synanthedon scitula – (f) abdomen segment 4 yellow

Synanthedon scitula – (m) abdomen segment 2 & 4 narrow yellow stripe; abdomen tuft round, small; similar to S. tipuliformis 

Synanthedon tipuliformis (m & f) segments 2, 4 and 6 with narrow yellow stripe; abdomen tuft large, square; similar to S. scitula

Synanthedon scitula

Dogwood Clearwing Borer
Synanthedon scitula

POHL: 64-0090
MONA: 2549
GenBank: 348703

Black, including top of head. Eyes surrounded with silver-white. White to yellow hair on face. Back of head has white hair at each side, middle yellow or bald. Nose cone (palpi) yellow, last segment black on male; female entirely yellow.
Antenna: Long, black. Base (scape) yellow on underside.
Thorax: Black with a yellow stripe down each side. May have some yellow on shoulders (humeri) and on thorax side under wing.
Wings: Both front and hind wing transparent with brown margins. The hindwing margin may be visible through to the front wing. Outer (costal) margin sometimes streaked with yellow, more so on female. Dark mark (discal cell) at 2/3 wing length is slightly curved. Wing tip border is paler brown, very wide on both male and female and may have some yellowish streaks, more so on female. Hindwing has the base of outer margin yellow, rest black. No mid-wing mark. All margins narrow.
Legs: Yellow. Front thigh (femora) black with yellow tip. Hind shin (tibiae) has black base and black on last half. Feet yellow.
Abdomen: Black with narrow yellow stripe on segment 2. Male has another narrow stripe on segment 4, somewhat wider at side edges. Female has segment 4 entirely yellow. Female abdomen tip tuft black, rounded, with 4 yellow stripes – one at each side and 2 in the middle. Male abdomen tip has anal tuft flared, black, with slight yellow at each side.
Note: In U.S., females have more yellow stripes.

Size: Male 8 mm long. Female 10 mm. Wingspan 14 to 20 mm.

Habitat: Deciduous forest edges, meadows, orchards.

Food: Uses a large variety of woody plant species including dogwood, oak, plum, cherry and apple, beech, birch, chestnut, dogwood, hawthorn, hazel, bayberry, mountain ash, pine, hickory and pecan. Also found on nine-bark Physocarpus, and galls (especially oak).

Flight Time: All Season May to September.

Life Cycle: One generations per year in Ontario. Eggs are laid in damaged parts of plants. Overwinters as a larva in tunnels, pupating in same tunnels next spring. Pupation takes 25 days. Larva are creamy-white with large brown heads. Can be a pest in apple orchards.
Parasite: Braconid Wasp Pseudapanteles sessiae

Comments: Fairly common in central Ontario apple orchards. Leamington, Essex County in 2015-16.

For information on synonyms, references and type specimens see next page

Synanthedon proxima

Eastern Willow Borer
Synanthedon proxima

Eastern Willow Clearwing Borer Synanthedon proxima female July 06, 2007 at Lake Superior Provincial Park, Wawa, Ontario.
Eastern Willow Clearwing Borer Synanthedon proxima female July 06, 2007 at Lake Superior Provincial Park, Wawa, Ontario.


POHL: 64-0113
MONA: 2572
GenBank: None

Female is entirely black, including nose cone (palpi). Male nose cone white on underside and back of head with some pale yellow.
Antenna: Black with a white streak which covers almost last half of antenna. Male white streak sometimes faded.
Thorax: Black with a yellow stripe down each side.
Wings: Both front and hind wing transparent with violet-brown margins. The tiny dark mark on hindwing and hindwing margin may be visible through to the front wing. Female wing margins lighter, more golden brown. Outer (costal) margin streaked with golden yellow. Dark bar at 2/3 wing length (discal cell). Wing tip margin very wide. Fringes brown, more golden brown on female. Underside of fore wings golden. Hindwing margins very narrow, mark at mid-wing tiny.
Legs: Black with white tufts at tips of middle and hind shins (tibiae). Feet faintly striped on male. Last segment of foot white on both male and female.
Abdomen: Black. Male tuft at abdomen tip wedge-shaped, black with white on outer edges. Female tuft straight, entirely black.

Size: 9 to 12 mm long. Wingspan 17 to 23 mm.

Habitat: Swamps, bogs, wet meadows.

Food: Willow canes and exposed roots.

Flight Time: Late in May to July.

Life Cycle: Females lay eggs in damaged canes and exposed roots of willow, especially those damaged by the larvae of the Poplar-and-Willow Weevil Cryptorhynchus lapathi. Also reported to lay eggs in galls created by Long-horned Beetle Saperda inornata. One generation per year. Larva over-winter and pupate in their tunnels in early spring.

Comments: Recorded from Algoma (Lake Superior) and Hastings Counties. *Questionable in southern Michigan and Ohio.
DNA: Three public records at BOLD:
Michigan – GenBank #592770 returns a ‘not found’ at GenBank.
One from Maine and one from Nipigon, Ontario (housed in the Smithsonian) not barcoded and with no BIN #. At GenBank, Synanthedon proxima and the western Synanthedon albicornis are not listed.
*Kellicott’s female type synonym Albuna modesta is missing. Kellicott left his collection to the Ohio State University, where he taught from 1888 to 1898, although one of his Clear-wing Borer types is in the American Museum of Natural History. His description of Albuna modesta does not match all the other descriptions of Synanthedon proxima female. Possibly his Albuna modesta is a valid species. Most records of S. proxima are northern. Kellicott’s A. modesta was from Ohio. See Types on page 2 for a list of discrepancies.

For information on synonyms, references and type specimens see next page

Synanthedon pictipes

Lesser Peachtree Borer
Synanthedon pictipes

POHL: 64-0091
MONA: 2550
GenBank: 348701

Black. White to pale yellow stripe across top of head. Back of head black with thick, white to pale yellow fringe on each side, middle black. Eyes have white on inner margin. Nose cone (palpi) black with some yellow on underside.
Antenna: Long, black, reaching past mid abdomen. Males have 2 rows of very short hairs down length of antenna.
Thorax: Black with white stripe down each side of thorax. Two spots, barely separated, sometimes absent at end of thorax. Thorax side has white spot or streak before the wing.
Wings: Both front and hind wing transparent with black margins. The tiny dark mark on hindwing and hindwing margin may be visible through to the front wing. Front wing has narrow black bar at 2/3 wing length (discal cell). Sometimes with small, faint yellow tinted area before wing tip margin. Hindwing has very small mark at mid-wing margin. Fringe black.
Legs: Black, all joints have white scaling, including feet which are striped. Front and middle shin (tibiae) sometimes with heavy white scaling.
Abdomen: Black; longer and narrower than most other Synanthedon. Segment 2 lower margin has white line which does not continue to underside. Segment 4 has wide stripe on underside, visible as a white spot at side edge from the top side. Abdomen tip usually black, but sometimes with a few scattered white hairs; tip squared, but not flared. Female abdomen only slightly wider, otherwise identical to male.

Similar Species: The Peachtree Borer Synanthedon exitiosa male is almost identical, but has yellow tint on hind wings, lacks the white spots on each side of abdominal segment 4 and no white margin around eyes. All other similar species have white on the antenna.

Size: Female 10 to 13 mm. Male 7 to 10 mm long.

Habitat: Orchards and deciduous forests.

Food: Prunus species: Peach, Nectarine, Cherry, Plum. Also Serviceberry Amelanchier. Prefers damaged trees, especially with gummy cankers and black knot galls in the bark.

Flight Time: June to July.

Life Cycle: Males and females emerge in early morning and mate within hours. Females lay clusters of tiny, reddish-brown eggs under the bark of damaged areas of trunk and larger branches. Larvae feed in tunnels; 1st brood develops in 40 to 60 days; 2nd brood over-winters and resumes feeding in spring. Larva 18 mm long. Creamy white with a brown dot at sides of each segment; head yellowish-brown.  Cocoons are made of silk and debris near the surface of the bark. Pupa (identical to Synanthedon exitiosa) forms inside the cocoon, and is capable of movement, pushing through the bark surface for the moth to emerge. Day-flying.

Comments: Ontario, Essex County.

For information on synonyms, references and type specimens see next page

Synanthedon exitiosa

Peachtree Clearwing Borer Moth
Synanthedon exitiosa

POHL: 64-0124
MONA: 2583
GenBank: 106501

Identification: Male and female very different (dimorphic).

Female: Entirely black, including front wings. Hind wing transparent with black scales at the base of the wing, sometimes the scales appear as a black stripe. Legs entirely black, with some scattered white scaling. Abdomen black, except segment 4 entirely orange. Abdomen tip tufted, entirely black, square. (No photos).


Head: Black. Variable: pale yellowish-white hair to top of head, back of head at middle only, and on inner eye margin. None of the marks on head are reliable for ID. Nose cone (palpi) black with some yellow on underside.
Antenna: Black, long reaching mid-abdomen; fine hairs (pectinate).
Thorax: Black with pale yellowish-white stripe down each side. Two spots, barely separated at end of thorax, may be faded or absent on older individuals. Thorax side has a pale yellowish-white spot.
Wings: Both front and hind wings are transparent. Hind wing is yellow tinted and margin may appears as an extra bar through to the front wing.
Forewing has narrow black, shiny margins, Wide, black bar at 2/3 wing length (discal cell). Fringe black.
Main ID: Hindwing shiny, yellowish. Tiny mark at mid wing margin is barely visible. Outer margin (costal) is narrow, golden, rest of margins black. Tip with black fringe; sometimes golden along inner margin.
Legs: Black, shiny. Shins (tibiae) have thick pale yellowish-white scales, sometimes absent except on joints.

Abdomen: Black with pale yellowish-white, thin stripes across lower margin of all segments. Segment 3 stripe faded at side edges. Stripes fade quickly and may be entirely absent. Main ID: Abdomen tip has tuft of hair arrowhead shaped, flared out at sides, narrowing to a sharp point, with a white stripe down each side.

Similar Species:
The Lesser Peachtree Clearwing Borer Synanthedon pictipes male has a white spot at side edges of abdominal segment 4; striped legs; hindwings clear not yellowish; abdomen tip is not flared, black sometimes a few flecks of white.
The Currant Clearwing Borer Synanthedon tipuliformis male has only 3 abdominal stripes and a very large, square abdominal tuft.
All other similar males have white on antennae.
A worn female could be mistaken for the Boneset Clearwing Borer Carmenta pyralidiformis which also has a wide yellow (not orange) stripe on abdomen and a yellow stripe each side of thorax (absent on S. exitiosa).
The Red-belted or Apple Clearwing Synanthedon myopaeformis female has wide orange stripe on abdomen, but forewings are hyaline, not solid black as in S. exitiosa.

Size: Female 10 to 15 mm., male 8 to 13 mm. long.

Habitat: Fruit farms and deciduous woods.

Food: Prunus species: Apricot, peach, plum, cherry; Serviceberry Amelanchier.

Flight Time: June to September.

Life Cycle: Adults emerge from June to September and lay eggs on injured lower trunks or surface roots of Prunus. Larvae feed in tunnels, overwinter and resume feeding in spring. Pupate in tunnel, just under bark surface, sometimes taking two years. Larvae about 30 mm long, cream-coloured with a large brown head.

Comments: Common in s. w. Ontario, Essex County. A lot of confusion with this species throughout it’s history has generated 25 synonyms.
DNA problems: Over 20 samples (and the list keeps changing) from BOLD were ‘suppressed’ or ‘not found’ by GenBank. Many are obvious errors in identification. One from Colorado is clearly Synanthedon helenis.

For a long list of information on synonyms, references and type specimens see next page

Synanthedon acerrubri

Red Maple Clearwing Borer
Synanthedon acerrubri

POHL: 64-0087
MONA: 2546
GenBank: 687062

Head: Head black, back of head (occiput) long orange hair. Nose cone (palpi) orange, underside and tip black. Inner margin of eye white.
Antenna: Black with white streak; long, reaching past mid-wing. Male has a short whitish to pale yellow streak just before tip and a row of scales (pectinate). Female has longer and brighter white streak.
Thorax: Black. Yellow streak running down each side of thorax. Underside yellow. Both the streaks and  underside become whitish with age.
Wings: Both front and hind wings are transparent, so the tiny dark mark on hindwing and hindwing margin may be visible through to the front wing.
Forewing margin black, streaked with some yellow on outer (costal) edge. Wide black bar at 2/3 wing length (discal cell). Male often has a yellowish streak in the margin below the bar; otherwise, this wing tip area is clear, not yellow. Wing tip area entirely bronzy-black. (A faint thin line may appear above the wing tip area; this is the outline of the hindwing.) Fringe short, grayish-black.
Hindwing margins narrow, black; outer (costal) margin streaked with yellow. Mid wing with a narrow black bar extending to first vein and which may be visible through front wing. Fringe grayish-black on outer edge, inner edge is yellow.
Legs: Top side of legs purplish-black. Underside yellow. Tips of shins (tibiae) and first 2 foot joints yellowish.
Abdomen: Black with yellow line on lower segment margin of 2, 4, 6 and 7, with 6 & 7 usually more orangish. Female banded or not. Male tuft ½ black in the middle, surrounded with orange. Female tuft orange.

Similar Species: Maple Callus Clearwing Borer Synanthedon acerni has wing tip area yellow with black veins and lacks any white on antenna.
Carmenta corni – Male abdomen tuft is mostly black, with some orange at center. Wing tip area is yellow. The orange at the back of the head extends to top of head, almost touching antenna base; on S. acerrubri top of head is entirely black, but may appear partly orange due to longer hairs at back of head flopping forward. C. corni feed on White-topped Asters Doellingeria umbellata and other plants and flies in July.

Size: 7 to 9 mm long. Wingspan 17 to 20 mm.

Habitat: Deciduous forests, parks, cities in street trees.

Food: Silver Maple Acer dasycarpum, Red Maple Acer rubrum, and Sugar Maple Acer saccharinum.  One report of Boxelder Acer negundo.

Flight Time: Late May to mid-August.

Life Cycle: The female lays up to 6 eggs in Maple twigs and branches up to 44 mm. (2 inches) diameter, unlike the Maple Callus Borer Synanthedon acerni which uses tree trunks. The female chooses damaged bark like the scars left from the Leopard Moth Zeuzera pyrina or beetles.
Larvae are 12 to 15 mm. White, thin with folded skin; head smooth, brown, mouth black. Feet pale yellow. Over-winters as larvae with continued feeding in the spring. Cocoon is thick and sticky, formed just under the bark. Pupa is capable of movement, it breaks through the bark so the moth can emerge.

Comments: Common in Ontario. Essex County.

For information on synonyms, references and type specimens see next page

Synanthedon acerni

Maple Callus Borer
Synanthedon acerni


POHL: 64-0095
MONA: 2554
GenBank: 689287

Head: Dark orange, including back of head and nose cone (palpi). Inner eye margin white.
Antenna: Long, entirely brown-black. Base (scape) orange. Male antennae have very fine, barely visible short hairs (pectinate).
Thorax: Deep orange; fading to yellowish-brown, or almost bald (black) on older individuals. Faint orange stripe down each side, widening into tufts by wing base; may be absent in older individuals. Underside yellow.
Wings: Both front and hind wings are transparent, so the dark mark and border of hindwing may be visible through the front wing.
Forewing margins black,  streaked with yellow on outer (costal) margin. Wide black bar at 2/3 wing length (discal cell). Wing tip area yellow with narrow black bar before the yellow, fading out at center, but may appear solid, thicker and darker if the border of the hindwing is showing through. A small black spot on outer (costal) border at end of this narrow bar. Below the bar wing is entirely yellow with black veins. Fringe short, grayish-black.
Hindwing margins narrow, black; outer (costal) margin streaked with yellow. Mid wing has a wide black bar extending across 2 veins; may be visible through to front wing. Fringe grayish-black. Male hind wing has some faint yellow at tip.
Legs: For the most part yellowish, streaked with brown. Front leg usually more orangish. All shins have darker tips. Feet very long and thin, faintly streaked or ringed with brown.
Abdomen: Black, lower half or less of each segment, except 3rd  usually absent, has yellowish scaling, wider at side edges. On older individuals reduced to only a yellowish line. Underside yellowish-brown with black patch at sides of 2nd segment. Female abdomen wider, tip with a bright orange tuft. Male tuft has base half black, rest orange, underside of tuft yellow.

Similar Species: Red Maple Borer Synanthedon acerrubri has entirely black area at wing tip, no yellow and the antennae have a white streak before tips.

Size: 8 to 10 mm. long. Wingspan 18 to 22 mm.

Habitat: Deciduous forests.

Food: Silver Maple Acer dasycarpum, Red Maple Acer rubrum, Sugar Maple Acer saccharinum, and Mountain Ash Pyrus americana. Attacks only trees weakened from previous injuries.

Flight Time: May to August

Life Cycle: The female lays one egg in each wound on trunks, seldom in branches of maple trees, often using the same wound each year; female lay eggs continually during the summer. The larvae feed on tree sap in tunnels, over-winter, resume feeding in the spring and move back to entrance hole to pupate. The pupa, capable of movement, works its way to the surface. The moth emerges, usually in the early morning, leaving the pupa half popped out of the entrance hole.
Larvae 12 to 19 mm. Pale yellowish-brown, flattened; head small, rounded and more yellowish, black between antennae. Abdomen tip with tubercle at each side. Legs reddish. According to literature, the male is the only Clearwing Borer attracted to lights, but a few others, including Synanthedon tipuliformis males have been taken at moth lights.

Comments: Common. Essex County – Point Pelee National Park insect list. Kent County – Rondeau Provincial Park insect list.
The destruction of native Maples by S. acerni caused municipalities to use the non-native Norway Maple Acer platanoides which was resistant to infestation of many of our native insects. Infestations of native Maples were rampant, causing death in municipal areas, but rare in forests. Kellicott (1880’s) thought this was due to a lack of woodpecker activity in towns and cities.

For information on synonyms, references and type specimens see next page

Melittia cucurbitae

Squash Vine Borer
Melittia cucurbitae

POHL: 64-0081
MONA: 2536
GenBank: 655047

Identification: Wasp-like.
Head: Top of head dark bronze-black. Eyes orange. Nose cone (palpi) orange, white on underside.
Antenna: Black. Males have row of hairs on one side (pectinate), antenna appear thicker.
Thorax: Dark bronze-black with white tuft a side edges.
Wings: Forewing bronze-black; fringe thick sometimes slightly lighter in colour. Hindwing transparent, veins and fringe brown.
Legs: Black with orange and black scaling. Hind legs thickly covered with orange and black hair. Front foot black, mid and hind feet striped.
Abdomen: Colour can vary from yellow to orange. Segments 1 and 2 black. Segment 3 orange. Other segments mostly orange with a large black dot at center of segment. Male abdomen usually has last 2 segments dark, with pointed hair tuft. Female tip bluntly rounded, usually red. Underside orange-yellow.

Size: 14 to 16 mm long. Wingspan 25 to 32 mm.

Habitat: Gardens and meadows.

Food: Adults often found on milkweed blossoms and flowering garden herbs. Larvae feed on squashes, pumpkin, zucchini, gourds. Sometimes on cucumber and watermelon.

Flight Time: Late June to August.

Life Cycle: Reddish-brown, somewhat flattened, very tiny eggs laid on crown root to 1 foot above on stems, on leaf stalks, leaves and fruit buds. Larva bores into plant stems and feed on juices, leaving a sawdust trail. Mature larvae burrow 25 to 50 mm into the soil and over-winter, pupating in the spring in the same tunnel. Larvae appear grub-like, but with legs – 3 pair on thorax and 5 pair on abdomen. Mature larvae are 25 mm long, white with a dark head. Adults are day flyers. One generation per year in Ontario.

Comments: Essex County – Ojibway Prairies; Pelee Island. Common in Ontario.

For information on synonyms, references and type specimens see next page

Carmenta pyralidiformis

Boneset Clearwing Borer
Carmenta pyralidiformis

POHL: 64-0155
MONA: 2608
GenBank: None

Head: Brown-black. Nose cone (palpi) orangish-yellow, tip black. Orange-yellow stripe across back of head.
Antenna: Long, reaching to mid-wing. Black, thickening toward tips on male. Tips curved and pointed on both male and female.
Thorax: Brown-black with 2 yellow longitudinal lines, one at each side. Thorax sides have yellow streak.
Wings: Forewing brown-black entirely on female. Male may have a thin yellow streak before mid-wing  and some yellow streaks near wing tip. Hindwing transparent with wide black border and fringe.
Legs: Dark with various amounts of yellowish to whitish scaling. Male has hind shin (tibiae) yellow. Feet pale.
Abdomen: Abdomen brown-black. Fourth segment has a wide, bright yellow band. Male also has a narrow band on last segment. Female tip entirely black, brush-like with a square tip. Male tip pointed, sometimes with yellow fringe at each side.

Size: 5 to 11 mm long. Wingspan 12 to 23 mm. Females large, males small.

Habitat: Moist to wet areas, stream and river banks, ditches. Also along railway lines or gravelly areas.

Food: Adults feed on flower nectar. Larvae feed in lower stems and roots of Common Boneset Eupatorium perfoliatum growing in damp places, and Tall Throughwort Eupatorium altissimum which is native only to Pelee Island and inventive, usually along railway lines and gravelly soil in the rest of Ontario. Tall Throughwort is listed as S1 (endangered) in Ontario. Larvae do not feed on Joe-Pye Weeds Eutrochium purpureum and E. maculatum, previously named Eupatorium. Two records from Missouri feeding on Ironweed Vernonia.

Flight Time: August to mid-September.

Life Cycle: Females deposit light yellow, oblong eggs on the underside of Boneset leaves usually near the base of the plant. Larvae drill into the leaf stem, then into the main plant stem, forming tunnels down to the root crown. Over-winters as a half-grown larvae in the tunnels.  In the spring, they move up to the main stem, create an exit hole and pupate.
Mature larvae are 14 mm long, dirty white, head light brown, bi-lobed, slightly hairy. Shield and legs brown. They emerge as adults in early morning and mate within an hour. One generation per year.

Comments: Rare. Listed for Ontario, but only 2 other individuals found: BugGuide from Hastings, near Peterborough and Karwatha Lakes by Lake Simcoe. Essex County – Wheatley in 2014 only.
DNA problems. BOLD had 2 samples ‘suppressed’ by GenBank.

For information on synonyms, references and type specimens see next page

Alcathoe caudata

Clematis Clearwing
Alcathoe caudata

POHL: 64-0172
MONA: 2623
GenBank: 1029665 tentative

Identification: Note: Colours are variable.
Head: Black. Nose cone (palpi) bright orangish-yellow, reaching to top of head. Darker orangish-yellow stripe entirely across back of head.
Antenna: Bright orangish-yellow. Long, reaching to mid-wing. Males may have some black scaling on top side, from base to almost mid-length of antenna.
Thorax: Reddish to purplish-black. Male thorax may have some orange tuft-like scaling.
Wings: Male forewing reddish to purplish-black, may have streaked, transparent area before middle of the wing, absent on worn individuals.
Female forewing entirely reddish to purplish-black.
Both have hindwings transparent with reddish to purplish-black borders and a thick mark across wing.

Legs: Male: Bright yellow to orangish. Thighs (femora) with thick black scaling on top side. Hind shin has patch of black hairs. Hind foot (tarsi) has tuft of orange scales at base. Worn individuals have legs almost entirely pale yellow.
Female: Thighs (femora) black; middle and hind shin (tibiae) black. Rest of legs and feet yellow to orangish. Front foot has tuft of black at base, absent in worn individuals.
Abdomen: Reddish to purplish-black on both sexes. Female has black, squarish tuft at abdomen tip. Male has black tuft each side of abdomen tip and a bright yellow to orangish tail which is as long as the abdomen. Underside orange.

Size: 10 to 15 mm long. Wingspan 20 to 32 mm.

Habitat: Wet forests, streambanks with Virgin’s Bower (also called Woodbine).

Food: Adults feed on flower nectar, mostly the host plant flowers. Larva feed on the roots and stems of Virgin’s Bower Clematis virginiana.

Flight Time: July and August

Life Cycle: Females lay eggs on our only native Clematis, Virgin’s Bower Clematis virginiana. Females are reported to lay eggs at the root of the plant, but photographs show the female laying eggs on the underside of leaves. Larvae feed in the roots near the soil surface, or in the larger plant stems that reach the ground. Larvae 14 mm long, dull white with 2 rows of tiny brown dots; brownish head and legs. Shield is light brown with 2 oblong, slanted dark brown spots, almost joined at bottom. Pupates in a silken mass mixed with debris and over-winters. Chrysalis formed inside cocoon is spined and helps the moth move to surface of root or stem to emerge in July. One generation per year. Reports of feeding on Currant Ribes are in error. All Alcathoe species or sub-species feed only on Clematis.

Comments: Rare. Essex County – Wheatley per photos. Also recorded in Toronto and Belleville area. Two specimens in the Canadian National Collection (CNC). Note: DNA problems. See next page.

For information on synonyms, references and type specimens see next page

Albuna fraxini

Virginia Creeper Clearwing
Albuna fraxini

POHL: 64-0070
MONA: 2532
GenBank: None

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