Subject: What kind of insect is this?
Location: Northwest Ohio, U.S.A
June 29, 2017 6:32 pm
I happened to notice this strange critter while at work today. I work at a greenhouse with flowers and vegetables. Unfortunately I could only get one picture of it before it flew away, rapidly. It has a shiny segmented body and a small, waspish head. The long orange “tail” also appeared segmented, and quite fuzzy. I have looked and found nothing like it on the internet. Please help? Thank you!
Signature: Hanna B.
Your description of this insect as “waspish” is spot on because this is a wasp-mimicking Clearwing Moth in the family Sesiidae, and we eventually identified it on BugGuide as a Clematis Borer, Alcathoe caudata. The binomial species name is thus defined on BugGuide: “Caudata from Latin caud, meaning ‘tailed.’ Adult males have a long tail-like appendage on the abdomen. ” Your individual is a yellow-tailed male. We have no other images of identified male Clematis Borers on our site, but we do have several images of female Clematis Borers. BugGuide also states: “Larva bore into the roots of Clematis and Ribes species.” According to Las Pilitas Nursery, the genus Ribes includes gooseberries and currants and Clematis is a popular flowering vine used in landscaping in Youngstown, Ohio. It is the end of the month and we are selecting your submission as the Bug of the Month for July 2017 because we are so thrilled to now have both sexes of the Clematis Borer in our archives.
Thank you so much! I’m glad that it “bugged” me enough to ask! Happy that I have also provided a useful photo, albeit a slightly blurry one!