|scientific name Synanthedon helenis |
Mixedwood forest; peatlands.
Adults have been collected in Alberta in late June and July.
A tiny (1.7-2.2 cm wingspan) mosquito-like clear-winged moth. The antennae and body are dark brown-black or black, with narrow pale yellow bands around the end of the second and fifth abdominal segments. The forewings are mostly hyaline (without scales), except for the veins, which are lined with dark brown-black scales. The discal bar is prominent, and slanted slightly toward the apex and has a few orange scales mixed in with the mostly black ones. The outer half of the area between the discal bar and the outer margin is filled with dusky orange-brown scaling. The hindwings are hyaline except for the veins, and all wings have prominent dark fringes. S. helena can be separated from similar-sized S. pictipes by the dark scaling in the outer half of the forewing beyond the discal bar, which pictipes lacks. The apparently closely related S. bolteri has a similar pattern to helenis, but the outer forewing area is brick red, and it has a single wide red band on the abdomen instead of the pale yellow bands. Helenis can be separated from the very similar S. arctica by the solid black antennae (light scales on apical third in arctica).
No information. Like other members of the family Sesiidae, they are undoubtedly borers in the hostplant.
A rarely collected species.
Until recently known only from 3 specimens from Manitoba and south central Saskatchewan. Recent collecting with pheromones has found helenis in the Ministik Lake and Wagner Fen Natural Area near Edmonton, and in the subarctic at Wentzel Lake in the Caribou Mountains.
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