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Title: Sesiidae  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Sesioidea, Pheromone trap, Otto Staudinger, External morphology of Lepidoptera, Lepidoptera
Collection: Moth Families, Sesiidae
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Synanthedon tipuliformis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Suborder: Ditrysia
Superfamily: Sesioidea
Family: Sesiidae
Boisduval, 1828
Type species
Sesia apiformis
(Hornet Moth)


151 genera
1,370 species
  • Aegeriidae Stephens, 1828
  • Trochiliidae Westwood, 1843

The Sesiidae or clearwing moths are a family of the Lepidoptera in most species of which the wings partially have hardly any of the normal lepidopteran scales, leaving them transparent. The bodies are generally striped with yellow, red or white, sometimes very brightly, and they have simple antennae. The general appearance is sufficiently similar to a wasp or hornet to make it likely that the moths gain a reduction in predation by Batesian mimicry. This enables them to be active in daylight. They are commonly collected using pheromone lures. Worldwide there are 151 genera, 1370 species, and 50 subspecies. Most of these occur in the tropics, but there are many species in the Holarctic region.

The larvae of the Sesiidae typically bore in wood or burrow in plant roots. Many species are serious pests of fruit-tree or timber cultivation, or crop plants (e.g. Melittia spp. on squash) (Edwards et al., 1999).

These moths should not be confused with the Hemaris genus of the family Sphingidae, which are also known as clearwing moths in the U.S., but normally as bee hawk-moths in Britain. Hemaris moths have generally fatter, furrier bodies than sesiid clearwings, looking similar to bumble bees, and lack the striped colouration.


The fiery clearwing moth, Pyropteron chrysidiformis


  • Edwards, E.D., Gentili, P., Horak, M., Kristensen, N.P. and Nielsen, E.S. (1999). The cossoid/sesioid assemblage. Ch. 11, pp. 183–185 in Kristensen, N.P. (Ed.). Lepidoptera, Moths and Butterflies. Volume 1: Evolution, Systematics, and Biogeography. Handbuch der Zoologie. Eine Naturgeschichte der Stämme des Tierreiches / Handbook of Zoology. A Natural History of the phyla of the Animal Kingdom. Band / Volume IV Arthropoda: Insecta Teilband / Part 35: 491 pp. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin, New York.

External links

  • Dr. Franz Pühringer: Sesiidae
  • Sesiidae of Serbia in English
  • , peachtree borerSynanthedon exitiosa on the UF / IFAS Featured Creatures Web site
  • , dogwood borerSynanthedon scitula on the UF / IFAS Featured Creatures Web site
  • Australian moths online Gallery
  • Images of Sesiidae moths in New Zealand
  • Deltakey Family description and nineteenth century plates.

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