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Thrift clearwing

Description: This little insect is a moth, though it looks very different from the moths that most people are familiar with. It belongs to a group called 'clearwings' which, as the name suggests, have wings which are for the most part transparent and not covered with scales. Clearwings tend to mimic other insects, particularly various species of wasps and this may give them some protection from predators.

Caterpillars of the Thrift Clearwing feed on the roots and stems of Thrift (Armeria maritima), which abounds on the Isle of Man's rocky coast. Like other clearwings, this species is elusive and was very difficult to find and record until artificial pheremones became available. Nowadays, male Thrift Clearwings can be attracted to a chemical lure which resembles a female sex pheremone. The technique has revealed that these moths are much more common in the Isle of Man than was previously thought.

The specimen is from the moth collection of Cyril Ingram Paton (1874 - 1949), who was born and spent much of his life in the UK but retired to the Isle of Man where he had strong family connections and abiding interests in the Island's natural history, language and folklore.

Taxonomic name: Synansphecia muscaeformis

Collection: Natural History Zoology Collection

ID number: 1954-6108D/77


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