|scientific name Sesiidae |
Arctic and alpine tundra to tropical forest.
In Alberta, adults of different species may be on the wing from late May through August.
Relatively small (1.5–5.0 cm wingspan) usually clear-winged wasp-like diurnal moths. Alberta species are mostly 2-3 cm in wingspan. Eight genera of Sesiidae have been found in Alberta (Pennisetia, Paranthrene, Sesia, Podosesia, Euhagena Albuna, Carmenta and Synanthedon). Most Alberta species belong to the genus Synanthedon, with the other genera so far each represented by a single species.
Larvae are borers in trunks, bark, stems, or roots of trees, shrubs and herbs, with a few species as inquilines in galls formed by beetles. The adults of Alberta species are diurnal and greatly resemble wasps or bees in appearance and behavior. Many species of Sesiidae are reported to be most active in the morning and later afternoon, apparently to avoid the hottest part of the day. Most species have fully functional mouthparts and visit flowers for nectar. The adults are short-lived (less than a week).
Males are attracted to females by pheromones. Eggs are placed singly in bark crevices or wounds on the host, or dropped near the base of the host plant, with most species restricted to a single genus or family of host plant. The larvae live as borers within the host; with most species single-brooded and completing development within one year, although some (i.e. Podosesia) require more than one year to complete development. Prior to emergence the larvae create a tunnel to the surface of the host. Pupation usually occurs in a specially prepared and often silk-lined chamber in the larval gallery, with pupation occurring just prior to emergence. The pupae moves partially out of the chamber prior to eclosion, and the empty exuvium remain protruding from the host as evidence it has hosted borers.
Most species of Sesiidae are rarely collected and their status is therefore difficult to evaluate. Several species, including at least one Alberta species (Synanthedon helenis), are known globally from very few specimens.
Trees, shrubs and herbs of over 30 families in North America, in particular the Asteraceae, Rosaceae and Salicaceae. Most Alberta species use trees and shrubs, including the galls and fungal growths ( i.e. chokecherry “black knot) occurring on them.
Worldwide, except in the coldest regions (higher Arctic and Antarctic).
Several species, including Podosesia syringae (Ash Borer) and Synanthedon novaroensis can be significant pests on trees or shrubs.
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