Clear Winged Moth – Synanthedon geliformis
May 5, 2010
I took this picture of a elm borer moth in mid-April and ID’d the moth easily enough; thankfully I noticed in the picture that the antennae are a little fuzzy and started with moths – I’d though it might be a wasp when I spotted it, with those narrow looking black wings. It took me a lot longer to ID the bush it was visiting, some sort of viburnum, I’m pretty sure now. It’s part of a neighbor’s hedge, but they didn’t know what it was. Since this is a still picture, it doesn’t show that the moth was flexing just the tip of it’s abdomen up occasionally.
I love your website. It has really helped learn more about ID’ing the smaller fauna of our world.
First, we want you to know that we are setting your photo to post on Mother’s Day because we are leaving our office behind for a few days to visit our mother in Ohio and we will not be checking our email nor posting any letters while we are away. Your letter has us quite puzzled because you mention using our humble site to make identifications, yet we do not have an example of a previous posting of Synanthedon geliformis, and furthermore, the single image posted to BugGuide does not list a common name. We next tried a google search of the scientific name, and we found a mounted specimen posted to the Moth Photographers Group website, but again with no common name. There appears to be a real dearth of information on this species online, but eventually we discovered a mention on the Index to the Common Names for Florida Lepidoptera website, where it is called a Pecan Bark Borer. More searching led us to the Full Text of Pecan Insects online and this information:
“THE LESSER PECAN TREE BORER.
(Synanthedon (Sesia) geliformis Walker.)
Two different species of clear winged moths, both related to
each other and to the peach tree borers, occur on pecan. One
species has been recorded by Ilerrick* as attacking the pecan in
Mississippi and this species appears to be the one attacking it in
North Carolina. The moth is deep steel blue in color with yellow
bands on abdomen and legs. Gossardt found a species attacking
pecan in Florida and, not finding the adult, judged it to be the
same insect. We have never taken this insect in Georgia, our form
producing a moth which is dark brown in color, with a bright red
hind body, or abdomen. It also seems probable that this is the
species occurring in Florida. Since this form is related more
closely to the Lesser Peach-tree Borer, and since moreover, the
name Pecan Tree-borer has already been applied to the other spe-
cies, it has seemed best to call our insect the Lesser Pecan-tree
Borer.” Read Full Post →