HEMARIS SAUNDERSII (Walker, 1856)

GB: Saunders' Bee Hawkmoth

Sesia saundersi Walker, 1856, List Specimens lepid. Insects Colln. Br. Mus. 8: 83.

Type locality: Northern India.


BIOGEOGRAPHICAL AFFILIATION

Holarctic; western Palaearctic region. Pleistocene refuge: Monocentric -- northern section of Sindian refuge.


ADULT DESCRIPTION AND VARIATION

Male Hemaris saundersii, Gurais/Gurez Valley, Kashmir. Photo: © NHMUK.

Wingspan: 50--60mm. Very like a large version of Hemaris fuciformis (Linnaeus, 1758), but without the scaled line across the forewing cell. According to Bell & Scott (1937), upperside head, thorax and abdomen olive-green; fourth and fifth abdominal segments brownish-red, with a mesal patch of the same colour on the sixth segment. Underside of abdomen brownish-red, grey mesially. Forewing upperside hyaline, with a broad reddish-brown marginal band as in Hemaris fuciformis. Hind wing hyaline, with a narrow reddish-brown marginal border as in Hemaris tityus (Linnaeus, 1758).


ADULT BIOLOGY

Diurnal. A species of scrub-jungle at 1800-3000m altitude.


FLIGHT-TIME

Uni- or bivoltine, depending on locality. In Kashmir, on the wing in June; in Himachal Pradesh during April/May and again in July.


EARLY STAGES

OVUM: Unknown.

LARVA: Full-fed 45mm. Early instars undescribed. According to Bell & Scott (1937), the fully-grown larva resembles that of Hemaris fuciformis.

Found in May/June and again in August in scub-jungle at Mussooree (Uttarakhand); uncommen (Bell & Scott, 1937).

Hostplants. Lonicera quinquelocularis in Uttarakhand, India (Bell & Scott, 1937).

PUPA: 30mm. Slender, dark brown, shiny, very similar to that of Hemaris croatica (Esper, 1800). The overwintering stage.


PARASITOIDS

Unknown.

DISTRIBUTION

Currently known only from northeastern Afghanistan (Danner, Eitschberger & Surholt, 1998) and northern Pakistan (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) (Rafi et al., 2014).

Extra-limital range. Northern India (Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh to Uttaranchal). Reports of this species from farther east are erroneous, e.g. from Bangladesh and northern Myanmar.


OTHER SUBSPECIES

None.


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