|scientific name Sesia tibiale |
common name Cottonwod Crown Borer
It is found associated with mature poplars and willows.
Adults have been collected in Alberta in July.
A large clearwing borer moth (wingspan about 3 cm). The body is bright yellow banded with black. The wings are unscaled and translucent except for the fringes and veins, which are lined with brown scales. The male antennae are finely bipectinate. Sexes similar. A near perfect mimic of yellow-jacket wasps. Unmistakable.
The larvae are borers in the stems and roots of the hosts. The life-cycle requires two years to complete, with the moth overwintering twice in the larval stage. They pupate in the spring of the third year, and emerge shortly thereafter. The adults are diurnal, but are rarely seen.
The larval host is species of poplar, and to a lesser extent willows. They appear to prefer stressed of damaged host trees.
Widespread in western North America, east at least across the Prairie Provinces, and south to California and Arizona. In Alberta it has been collected mainly in the foothills and parklands, but likely occurs throughout the wooded parts of the province, wherever hardwoods are present. It has been recorded in adjacent Saskatchewan in both the arid Grasslands National Park area and at Uranium City.
Also called the American Hornet Moth (Wong and Ives, 1988). It is rarely encountered unless baited with synthetic pheromones.
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