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Introduction

Introduction:

Sesiids or clear-wing moths are small to medium-sized diurnal lepidopterans whose larvae are borers in living plant material. The family is worldwide in distribution but probably reaches its greatest species richness in the tropical regions of the globe. There are about 1370 described species assigned to 150 genera (Puhringer and Kallies 2009). The remarkable resemblance of adult sesiids to stinging Hymenoptera (bees and wasps) in appearance and behavior represents a classic example of Batesian mimicry (Duckworth and Eichlin 1974, Edwards et al. 1998). The wings are narrow and usually partially devoid of scales, and the abdomen often is striped with white, yellow, or orange bands and narrowed anteriorly, either by an actual constriction or by scaling to create the illusion of a constriction (Duckworth and Eichlin 1974). In some species the legs are modified to resemble those of the model (bee or wasp), in some groups with scale tufts tipped in yellow to simulate the pollen-gathering devices of certain bees (Duckworth and Eichlin 1974). Adult sesiids are observed infrequently in the wild, even though several feed on flowers. However, the synthesis of female pheromones beginning in the 1970s, led to a major breakthrough not only in the detection and monitoring of pest species, but also in the discovery of new species and the documentation of local faunas (Edwards et al. 1999). The larvae of sesiids are internal feeders, and host plants include many woody and herbaceous dicot families. According to Edwards et al. (1999), “most are trunk-, stem- or root-borers, but seed-boring has been reported from a few tropical [species of] Carmenta…” Almost all species have narrow host ranges, and several are serious pests of fruit trees, cultivated timber, and crop plants (Edwards et al. 1999).

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