Red-tipped Clearwing Sesiidae

Synanthedon formicaeformis (Esper, 1783)

Description: Wingspan 18-26mm. Adults have blackish abdomen with a distinctive red band the tips to the forewings are also red. Like other species of clearwings the wings are transparent with dark veining. The Irish form of this species has a noticeable white tip on the apex of the antennae.

Flight Period: End of June to late July.

Status: First recorded in 1985 and confirmed in 1990 from Brackagh Moss, NNR, Armagh. Now known from several nearby localities.

Ecology: A rare and wary species that has a preference for swamps with mature sallows in reasonable numbers. Adults seem to be most active during sunshine especially in the early morning and late afternoon where they visit flowers particularly meadowsweet and can also be attracted by pheromone lures. The adults have a skittish nature and disturbance of any kind usually results in a swift departure or in some cases dropping into the vegetation making them impossible to find. The larvae feed inside the stems of willows with little outward sign to betray their presence.

Bradley & Fletcher number: 0380 Agassiz number: 52.008

Additional information:

UK Moths account


 Thompson, R. S. & Nelson, B., 2003 (Oct 2). [In] The Butterflies and Moths of Northern Ireland