Narrow-bordered bee hawk-moth (Hemaris tityus)

loading
Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk-moth
loading
Loading more images and videos...

Narrow-bordered bee hawk-moth fact file

Narrow-bordered bee hawk-moth description

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumArthropoda
ClassInsecta
OrderLepidoptera
FamilySphingidae
GenusHemaris (1)

Adults of the Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk-moth are extremely similar in appearance to bumblebees (3), and gain a level of protection from this mimicry. The wings are transparent with a thin brown border, and the body is furry and banded. The caterpillars may reach up to 3.5 cm in length, and have pale green bodies with purple or brownish-red blotches and a reddish horn towards the rear (4).

Size
Wingspan: 41-46 mm (1)
Top

Narrow-bordered bee hawk-moth biology

The Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk-moth has a single generation each year (it is 'univoltine'). Adults are active in the day between mid-May and mid-June, and can be seen visiting the flowers of various species in sunshine (1). Eggs are laid singly underneath leaves of the foodplant, and hatch 1-2 weeks later. Caterpillars feed between July and August but are hard to find (5), and will fall to the ground when disturbed. The pupa overwinters in a cocoon spun below the surface of the soil (4).

Top

Narrow-bordered bee hawk-moth range

Once widespread but local throughout the UK, the Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk-moth underwent a severe decline from about 1950. It became extinct at many former sites, especially in the east of its range, surviving mainly in south-west England, west Wales, Northern Ireland and the west coast of Scotland. Welcome signs of a recovery have been noticed in the past decade, and the moth was re-found in East Anglia in 1999 (5). The species has a local distribution in the western Palaearctic, and has been recorded from most European countries (2).

You can view distribution information for this species at the National Biodiversity Network Gateway.
Top

Narrow-bordered bee hawk-moth habitat

Inhabits many types of unimproved grasslands. It also occurs on acid bogs, peat cuttings and dry heathland sites (2). In all cases, it requires a source of the foodplant of the caterpillars, devil's bit scabious (2), growing in a large area of suitable habitat (5).

Top

Narrow-bordered bee hawk-moth status

Classified in Great Britain as Nationally Scarce (2).

Top

Narrow-bordered bee hawk-moth threats

The main factors affecting this species include agricultural improvement and unsuitable management of its grassland and heathland habitats (2), especially in southern and eastern England. Much suitable habitat remains in Scotland (5).

Top

Narrow-bordered bee hawk-moth conservation

The Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk-moth has been targeted as a priority species under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UK BAP). The plan aims to maintain the current populations and to restore the species to 10 sites in the former range before 2010 (2). Many of the sites where this moth occurs are Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) or nature reserves; a number of sites have been forwarded as candidate SACs (Special areas of Conservation) (2).

The UK Biodiversity Action Plan for this species is available at UK BAP.
There may be further information about this species available via the National Biodiversity Network Gateway.
View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.
Top

Find out more

Further reading on moths:
Skinner, B. (1998) Colour Identification Guide to Moths of the British Isles. Viking Press, London.
Leverton, R. (2001) Enjoying Moths. Poyser, London.

Top

Authentication

Information authenticated by Roy Leverton.

Top

Glossary

Palaearctic region
The region that includes Europe, the part of Asia to the north of the Himalyan-Tibetan barrier, North Africa and most of Arabia.
Pupa
Stage in an insect's development when huge changes occur, which reorganise the larval form into the adult form. In butterflies the pupa is also called a chrysalis.
Univoltine
(also known as 'single-brooded'). Insect life cycle that takes 12 months to be complete, and involves a single generation. The egg, larva, pupa or adult over winters as a dormant stage.
Top

References

  1. Skinner, B. (1984) Colour Identification Guide to Moths of the British Isles. Viking Press, London.
  2. UK BAP (December 2001): http://www.ukbap.org.uk
  3. UK Moths (December 2001): http://www.ukmoths.force9.co.uk
  4. Carter, D. J. and Hargreaves, B. (1986) A Field Guide to caterpillars of butterflies and moths in Britain and Europe. Collins, London.
  5. Leverton, R. (2002) Pers. comm.
X
Close

Image credit

Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk-moth  
Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk-moth

© David Green / British Butterfly Conservation Society Ltd

Butterfly Conservation
Manor Yard
East Lulworth
Wareham
Dorset
BH20 5QP
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 1929 400 209
info@butterfly-conservation.org
http://www.butterfly-conservation.org/

X
Close

Link to this photo

ARKive species - Narrow-bordered bee hawk-moth (Hemaris tityus) Embed this ARKive thumbnail link ("portlet") by copying and pasting the code below.

Terms of Use - The displayed portlet may be used as a link from your website to ARKive's online content for private, scientific, conservation or educational purposes only. It may NOT be used within Apps.

Read more about

X
Close

MyARKive

MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite ARKive images and videos and share them with friends.

Play the Team WILD game:

Team WILD, an elite squadron of science superheroes, needs your help! Your mission: protect and conserve the planet’s species and habitats from destruction.

Conservation in Action

Which species are on the road to recovery? Find out now »

Help us share the wonders of the natural world. Donate today!

Blog