Tay Meadows Tidbit – Clearwing moth

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In between rounds at Rock Ridge yesterday I took a stroll back into an area of the forest we don’t normally visit, just to see what I could see. It was later in the morning, and the birds were starting to get quiet, but the insect activity was beginning to pick up. I’d paused atop a rock outcrop, beside a dead tree, to decide where to go next, when I noticed this fabulously coloured wasp low down on the tree. Looking more closely, it wasn’t a wasp at all, but a moth!

Moths in the family Sesiidae are called clearwing moths, and they’re mostly all wasp mimics. As you can see, they do a very good job of it! They are day-fliers, visiting flowers while the sun is up, and are generally uncommon. Only one species regularly comes to lights at night, so they are rarely seen. I considered myself lucky to have stumbled across this one, which appeared to be newly emerged from what looked like half a cocoon tucked into a crack in the bark.

I’m uncertain of the species; I reviewed the plates at the Moth Photographers Group Sesiidae page, but saw no all-dark species with red highlights and long, trailing yellow legs. Some of the clearwings are variable, though, and it may be a variation on one of the species there that’s just not illustrated.

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Author: Seabrooke

Author of Peterson Field Guide to Moths. Writer of action/thriller SF/F YA. Story junkie. Nature nut. Tea addict. Staffperson to five fourleggeds. Finding happiness in the little things. Twitter: @SeabrookeN / @SeabrookeLeckie

5 thoughts on “Tay Meadows Tidbit – Clearwing moth”

  1. Hard to believe that’s a moth! Congratulations on finding it. Each day outdoors is just like a treasure hunt, and you never know what you will find. Thanks for showing us this remarkable creature.

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