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).


Male Hemaris saundersii with pre-flight scales, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan, 2018. Photo: © Serge Yevdoshenko. Female Hemaris saundersii with pre-flight scales, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan, 2018. Photo: © Serge Yevdoshenko. Mating pair of Hemaris saundersii, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan, 2018. Photo: © Serge Yevdoshenko.

ADULT BIOLOGY

Diurnal. A species of warm temperate scrub-jungle and open forest at 1800-3000m altitude.


Typical temperate zone habitat of Hemaris saundersii, Ajub National Park, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan, 16.vii.2018. Photo: © Serge Yevdoshenko. Typical temperate zone habitat of Hemaris saundersii, Shorgan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan, 14.vii.2018. Photo: © Serge Yevdoshenko.

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: Undescribed.

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


Full-grown larva of Hemaris saundersii (lateral view), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan, 2018. Photo: © Serge Yevdoshenko. Full-grown larva of Hemaris saundersii (dorsal view), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan, 2018. Photo: © Serge Yevdoshenko. Early final instar larva of Hemaris saundersii (blu-green form), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan, 2018. Photo: © Serge Yevdoshenko.

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. 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; Serge Yevdoshenko, pers. obs. 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.


OTHER SUBSPECIES

None.


Return to species list