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.
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.

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. Mature larvae are 14 mm long, dirty white, head light brown, bi-lobed, slightly hairy. Shield and legs brown. The next spring, they move up the tunnels and create an exit hole, then pupate in the tunnel (20 days). 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 although Carmenta pyralidiformis is unique – the only Clearwing Borer with one wide yellow band on abdomen.

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.

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.
Thorax: Black with various amounts of whitish scale. Usually more defined as lines on the male.
Wings: Female front wings entirely shiny black with a reddish-orange dash at 2/3 wing length (discal cell). Male front wing transparent, except for a black patch before the red dash and a black patch at wing tip. Hind wings transparent with a black border and fringe. A black line at end of discal cell.
Legs: Black. Front legs have thick black fringe and pale yellow feet (tarsi).
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. Female has a black tuft each side of abdomen tip.

Similar Species: Some Synanthedon have white on the antennae, but are more stout bodied and without the red dash in discal cell.

Size: About 18 mm long. Wingspan 24 to 27 mm.

Habitat: Deciduous forests and forest edges.

Food: Adults feed on flower nectar. Larvae feed on all Ash trees Fraxinus species; Virginia Creeper Ampelopsis quinquefolia and hybrids like Boston Ivy.

Flight Time: June to August.

Life Cycle: The larva feed on roots at ground level or several inches below. Pupation takes place within the larval galleries. 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 do not have corresponding GenBank numbers, and Albuna fraxini is not listed at GenBank.

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