What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

“Yellow Jacket” Moth
Here is a moth that looks just like a yellow jacket. It even has a fake yellow jacket mouth. Hope you enjoy!
Eagle River, AK

Hi David,
We recently met a lepidopterist, Julian P. Donohue, who specializes in Wasp Moths. We will see if he can give us an exact species on this Wasp Moth. Here is what Julian wrote back: “Hi Daniel, The moth is indeed a wasp moth, family Sesiidae (formerly called Aegeriidae). All my references for this family are at the Museum, so I can’t begin to start putting a name on it. Where it was found would be a major help–there are many species that are very similar in appearance, but all don’t occur in the same places. The larvae of all are borers in roots and stems of various plants. The hostplant may be specific for a particular species, while other species feed as larvae on a variety of different plants. Some are severe pests of horticultural, ornamental, and agricultural crops. In the last two decades great strides have been made in studying the distribution and taxonomy of this family, using traps with synthetic pheromones as an attractant (most are dayfliers and very difficult to collect with a net–if you can even see them!). The pheromones were originally developed for use with sticky traps to detect the presence of pest species (e.g., peach tree borer), so growers would know when (and whether) to institute control measures. In haste, Julian “

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: Alaska

7 Responses to Wasp Moth

  1. taftw says:

    It would be very helpful to have a date and location for this image. This is a common color scheme in Sesiidae. Thanks.

  2. David Lee says:

    This was taken in June 24, 2006 in Eagle River, Alaska (not Arkansas). Sorry for the late response, I actually came across this today because I was searching for more info on the moth before sending my pictures of it to someone. I don’t think I’ve been on this site since 2006. There are some more pictures of this moth and another of the same species in my Picasa Web Album at https://picasaweb.google.com/116717314921392784274/Favorites?noredirect

    There is a macro shot of it’s face showing how the inside edge of its front legs are colored to match a yellow jacket’s mouth at https://picasaweb.google.com/116717314921392784274/Favorites?noredirect=1#5117942725348596434 . The moth even moved its front legs in a manner that made it look like the “mouth” was opening and closing when I handled it.

    If you are interested in more photos of the moth, I can upload them to my web album.

    • bugman says:

      We would love to be able to post a few more photos. Are you giving us permission to “grab” them from Picasa?

      • David Lee says:

        I will upload all of the ones I have of that species in their own album and you can use any of them for this site (you can also use any other nature-type photo as well). I took most of the pictures with the intent that they would be used for educational purposes (mostly for the nearby Nature Center). I have lots of other “bug” photos from the same location as well as from the Eagle River Nature Center, which is about 6 miles away. I have been going through my photo library trying to pick out all the good ones to upload, but I take a lot of pictures of each bug and sometimes most of them come out “pretty good”, but none really stand out, so it’s hard to pick which one to upload. Once I upload the wasp moth album, I’ll reply here (it should be done by the end of the day tomorrow). I’ll also let you know when the other album is uploaded. It will be an unsorted album of all my bug photos.

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