GB: Saunders' Bee HawkmothSesia saundersi Walker, 1856, List Specimens lepid. Insects Colln. Br. Mus. 8: 83.
Type locality: Northern India.
Holarctic; western Palaearctic region. Pleistocene refuge: Monocentric -- northern section of Sindian refuge.
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).
Diurnal. A species of warm temperate scrub-jungle and open forest at 1800-3000m altitude.
Uni- or bivoltine, depending on locality. In Kashmir, on the wing in June; in Himachal Pradesh during April/May and again in July.
OVUM: Small (1.3 x 1.1mm), but larger than those of Hemaris fuciformis, pale glossy green, nearly spherical. Laid singly on the underside of the leaves of its hostplant.
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). However, the main host in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan, appears to be Zabelia triflora (R. Br. ex Wall.) Makino [syn. Abelia triflora; Linnaea triflora] (Serge Yevdoshenko, pers. comm. 2019).
PUPA: 30mm. Typical Hemaris, i.e. slender, dark brownish-black, dull shiny. Very similar to that of Hemaris croatica (Esper, 1800), but darker, and with a single pronounced lateral spine to the cremaster (not a series of smaller spines). The overwintering stage.
Currently known only from northeastern Afghanistan (Danner, Eitschberger & Surholt, 1998) and northern Pakistan (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) (Rafi et al., 2014; Serge Yevdoshenko, pers. comm. 2018).
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.