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Synanthedon formicaeformis

Posted by
Johan Dierckx (Wijnegem, Belgium) on 29 July 2010 in Animal & Insect and Portfolio.

Synanthedon formicaeformis (Red-tipped Clearwing / Wilgenwespvlinder) is a moth of the Sesiidae family. Its wingspan is about 18-26mm. Like other species of clearwings the wings are transparent with dark veining. For this species the tips to the forewings are red. Adults have blackish abdomen with a distinctive red band. The two yellow bands on the abdomen in this image are rarely seen. They consist of loose scales wich dissappear during the first flight. This specimen must be a very 'frech' one...

Although in Belgium the species is ranked "common", it has seldom been seen despite frequent searches at its only known locality. It seems to have a preference for swamps with mature sallows in reasonable numbers. Adults are most active during sunshine especially in the early morning and late afternoon where they have been observed visiting flowers particularly meadowsweet. And active has to be taken for real: the wings and antennae didn't stop moving for one second... (That is why there is a little unsharpness - I could nog get the shutter speed high enough.) 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. That is exactly what happened after making a few images... Our meeting lasted less than one minute :-(

Image: Lille (BE) - 21/07/2010

Canon EOS 400D 1/125 second F/5.6 ISO 200 150 mm

© Johan Dierckx

The photos on this site are copyrighted, which prohibits anyone to use them to sell, give away, use in email or newsgroups, use in a homepage or otherwise showing to the public without my explicit, prior, written permission. Please feel free to use the "contact"-button below to contact me with any questions.

All species are photographed in their natural habitat, without cutting or capturing them, and with maximal respect and the least possible disturbance to the environment.

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Vert Pomme from Montreuil Sous Bois, France

Superbe macro !!!!

29 Jul 2010 5:17am

@Vert Pomme: Thank you very much for your visit and comment.

♏arleen from Netherlands

Toch heel knap dat je binnen 1 minuut toch nog dit fotoresultaat hebt weten te realiseren!
Snellere reactie dan dit wilgenwespvlindertje......nou ja, hij zat te snoepen....mooie vleugels zijn het:-)

29 Jul 2010 10:05am

@♏arleen: Ik weet dat ze bestaan, deze wespvlindertjes, zag er ooit eentje in Frankrijk die aan het slapen was (en me dus ruime fotogelegenheid gegeven heeft). Van het moment dat ik deze in het oog kreeg wist ik dadelijk dat ik snel moest zijn.... Mijn toestel stond gelukkig nog goed ingesteld van de vlinders die ik net daarvoor gefotografeerd had. Het is echt gewoon ontzettend geluk hebben dat je oog er op valt, voor hetzelfde loop je er gewoon aan voorbij. Maar ze zijn wonderbaarlijk mooi !

Loner from Wörgl, Austria

Hallo, Johan ! Gratuliere dir herzlich zu dieser tollen Entdeckung. Wir wissen wohl, daß es diesen "Ameisen-Glasflügler" gibt, haben ihn aber noch nicht gesehen. Großartig, daß du so schnell reagiert hast und dieses sensationelle Foto machen konntest. LG Sonja

29 Jul 2010 10:47am

@Loner: Thank you very much, Sonja. It was only the second time I found one of these (the first time was on a holiday in France). My camera was still "on standby" after taking some images of other butterflies in the same area, otherwise I would have been far too late to make images. It is not "tack"sharp but i'm very happy with the images I could make. I realy hope you are lucky to see this species once. Enjoy summer, Sonja !

Julie Brown from Indianapolis, United States

Great detail and color on this one Johan. Knowing how fast they move their wings, it is amazing that you got this much detail with a shutter speed of 1/125 sec!

29 Jul 2010 4:14pm

@Julie Brown: I got very lucky to find this one (very tiny species!) but a bit unlucky that right on that moment the sun disappeared behind a cloud, reducing the light. I mostly make butterfly-images with Aperture-priority setting so I saw the shutterspeed reducing and reducing... :( But goh, I'm happy with the finding and the pictures I could make...

Dutçh from Chicagoland, United States

At least you got this wonderful photo! Some of the insects really are striking looking creatures. I'm glad you were able to capture this one!

31 Jul 2010 1:13am

@Dutçh: It is just incredible to see a butterfly with the clear wings like a wasp. Thanks again, Kristen.

daniela scharnowski from Berlin, Germany

Congrats on finding this fantastic species!! Inever have seen any of these here - but ok, we don´t have lots of swamps ;) Flawless composition with super lively colours!!!

31 Jul 2010 9:52am

@daniela scharnowski: The best I could get out of the situation. Glad you like it.

Monique from Koh Samui, Thailand

In die ene minuut heb je 'm anders prachtig kunnen vastleggen. Ik had er nooit van gehoord laat staan gezien, heel indrukwekkend! Heb net al je nieuwe uploads bewonderd en van je vlinderfoto's genoten.

21 Aug 2010 5:11pm

@Monique: Hoi Monique. Fijn dat je er weer terug bent. Bedankt voor je commentaar alweer - blij dat je genoten hebt van mijn laatste posts. De wilgenwespvlinder schijnt meer voor te komen dan we denken, maar door zijn bijna perfecte camouflage wordt hij erg vaak over het hoofd gezien. Een dikke week na deze foto zag ik er zowaar eentje in mijn tuin (waar nochthans geen wilgen in de buurt te vinden zijn). De batterijen van mijn camera lagen net op te laden, dus helaas geen mogelijkheid om die op foto vast te leggen.

Canon EOS 400D
1/125 second
ISO 200
150 mm