Earlier in the year, I bought myself a summer of moths – a pack of pheromone lures with which to entice clearwing moths into the garden, with a view to grabbing a quick photo opportunity and letting them on their way to find a mate etc.
Regular readers will recall I have mentioned pheromone lures before in the context of the Emperor moth. The clearwings are a very different group and I’ve not had time to find out much detail about the chemistry of their pheromone attactants. Regardless, I have been putting out a lure, known as “myo” for the Red-belted Clearwing (,em>Synanthedon myopaeformis).
Usually, I hang the lure in the back garden and have had no luck, but on a whim, today I put it in the front garden and within about ten minutes, a RbCw turned up. The specimen was a lot smaller than I was anticipating, but checking in my “Collins”, I see that it is a rather small moth, with a wingspan of 19-24 mm. I’d say this one was on the lower end of that size scale. Beautiful creature, obviously belted and see-through wings. If you didn’t know, you might guess at it being some kind of wasp-type insect. But, definitely no sting in the tail of this one.
The species flies June to August but is rarely seen except by those with a pheromone lure for citizen science purposes. The larvae live under the bark of old apple, and other fruit trees such as pear and almond. Got the best snaps I could of this rather skittish specimen so I could let him back into the wild sooner, rather than later.