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
© Johan Dierckx
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