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The Clearwingmoths (Lepidoptera: Sesiidae) of Papua Indonesia

by Walter Garrevoet, Theo Garrevoet, Axel Kallies & Yutaka Arita

Sesiidae are medium- to large-sized Lepidoptera (wingspan 10-70 mm) with mostly hyaline fore- and hindwings. The larvae are endophagous in dicotylic plants. They feed on the plants or the trees juices and their presence can often be detected by the wilting of the plant, the formation of a gall or the extrusion of frass or sawdust.
Most species pupate inside the plant, although some species are known to pupate in an earthen cocoon in the soil. Most species are monophagous. The bionomics of most Oriental species of Sesiidae are still unknown.
Worldwide there are about 1600 species of Sesiidae known from all continents, except from Antarctica, some parts of Australia and New Zealand. From New Guinea only 27 species are known, but many new species can be expected. Sesiidae can be found in many different biotopes, from the pre-Sahara to tropical fog-forests and from the tundra to the tropics.
Some species are considered to be agricultural pest species as their larvae destroy or damage crops and wood.
Sesiidae are mostly collected by the use of synthetic pheromone lures which are available for commercial or scientific purpose. The right time of the day and of the season, the right type of weather, a good spot, etc. are only a few of the requirements needed to collect Sesiidae with pheromones. A good knowledge of their general bionomics and some luck is thus needed. Any new information on the bionomics of these interesting Lepidoptera is welcome.

The checklist is based on all relevant literature and additional collection records.

For the time being species from whole New Guinea are listed, because details of localities are not yet available. Soon the species list will be split up in Papua species only.

Listed New Guinea species: 27



Tinthia Walker, [1865]

ruficollaris (Pagenstecher, 1900)

Micrecia Hampson, 1919

methyalina Hampson, 1919



Teinotarsina Felder, 1874

rubripes (Pagenstecher, 1900)

Aegerosphecia Le Cerf, 1916

fulviventris Le Cerf, 1916

mysolica (Walker, [1865])

Trilochana Moore, 1879

smaragdina Diakonoff, 1954

Melanosphecia Le Cerf, 1916

atra Le Cerf, 1916

dohertyi Hampson, 1919

funebris (Rothschild, 1911)

Melittia Hübner, [1819]

erythrina Diakonoff, 1954

meeki Le Cerf, 1916

rutilipes Walker, [1865]

tigripes Diakonoff, 1954

xanthodes Diakonoff, 1954

propria Kallies & Arita, 2003

Nokona Matsumura, 1931

meeki (Druce, 1898)

Paranthrene Hübner, [1819]

dohertyi (Rothschild, 1911)

leucocera Hampson, 1919

microthyris Hampson, 1919

cyanopis Durrant, 1915

hyalochrysa Diakonoff, 1954

Pseudosesia Felder, 1861

charlesi (Le Cerf, 1916)

pentazonata (Hampson, 1919)

flavifrons (Hampson, 1919)

Phlogothauma Butler, 1882

scintillans Butler, 1882

Synanthedon Hübner, [1819]

auriplena (Walker, [1865])

Ichneumenoptera Hampson, [1893]

xanthogyna (Hampson, 1919)


[last updated on July 4th, 2006]


Arita, Y. & Gorbunov, O., 1996. A revision of FERDINAND LE CERF’S clearwing moth types (Lepidoptera, Sesiidae), kept at the Paris Museum, I. The genus Melittia HÜBNER, (1819) in the Oriental and Australian regions. Japanese Journal of Systematic Entomology 2 (2): 137-187.
Butler, A. G., 1882. Descriptions of new Species of Lepidoptera, chiefly from Duke-of-York Island and New Britain. The Annals and Magazine of Natural History (Fifth Series) 10: 36-43, 149-160, 226-238. (237-238).
Diakonoff, A. N., 1954. Microlepidoptera of New Guinea. Results of the Third Archibold Expedition (American-Netherlands Indian Expedition 1938-1939). Part IV. Verhandelingen Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen, Afdeeling Natuurkunde, Reeks 2 50(1) (1952-1955), 1-191. (180-190).
Druce, H., 1898. Descriptions of some new Species of Heterocera. The Annals and Magazine of Natural History (Seventh Series) 1: 207-215. (207).
Durrant, J. H., 1915. Microlepidoptera (Pterophorina and Tineina) collected by the British Ornithologists' Union and Wollaston Expeditions in the Snow Mountains, Southern Dutch New Guinea. Lepidoptera of the British Ornithologists' Union and Wollaston Expeditions in the Snow Mountains, Southern Dutch New Guinea 2(15): 149-168. (166).
Felder, C., 1861. Lepidopterorum Amboinensium a Dre. L. Doleschall annis 1856-58 collectorum species novae diagnosibus collustratae a Dre. C. Felder, II Heterocera. Sitzungsberichte der kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften Abt. 1, 43(I): 25-44.
Hampson, G. F., 1919. A classification of the Aegeriadae [sic!] of the Oriental and Ethiopian Regions. Novitates Zoologicae 26(1): 46-119.
Kallies, A. & Arita, Y., 2003. A note on the genus Melittia Hübner from New Guinea, with the description of a new species, Melittia propria sp. nov. (Lepidoptera, Sesiidae). Tinea 17(4): 173-175.
Kallies, A. & Arita, Y., 2004. A survey of the clearwing moths of the tribe Sesiini (Lepidoptera, Sesiidae) from Vietnam and adjacent countries with a synopsis of the Oriental Sesiini fauna. Tinea 18(1): 65-95.
Le Cerf, F., 1916a. Explication des planches. Aegeriidae de Barbarie. In OBERTHÜR, C.: Études de Lépidoptérologie Comparée 11: 11-17, pls. 316-372.
Le Cerf, F., 1916b. Explication des planches. In OBERTHÜR, C.: Études de Lépidoptérologie Comparée 12(1): 7-14, pls. 373-381.
Le Cerf, F., 1917. Contributions à l'étude des Aegeriidae. Description et Iconographie d'Espèces et de Formes nouvelles ou peu connues. In OBERTHÜR, C.: Études de Lépidoptérologie Comparée 14: 137-388, pl. 475-481.
Pagenstecher, A., 1900. Die Lepidopterenfauna des Bismarck-Archipels. Mit Berücksichtigung der thiergeographischen und biologischen Verhältnisse systematisch dargestellt. Zweiter Theil: Die Nachtfalter. Zoologica 12(29): 1-268, 2 pls. (20-22).
Rothschild, L. W., 1912. New Bornean Aegeriidae and Syntomidae. Novitates Zoologicae 19: 122-124.
Snellen, P. C. T., 1900. In PIEPERS, M. C.: Enumeration des Lepidoptères Heterocères recueillis à Java. Tijdschrift voor Entomologie 43: 12-108, pls. i-iv. (34-36).
Walker, F., 1865. List of the Specimens of Lepidopterous Insects in the Collection of the British Museum. Supplement 31 (Suppl. 1): 321 pp. - London. (1-26, 110).