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Ironweed Clearwing Moth (Carmenta bassiformis)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Ironweed Clearwing Moth.




Ironweed Clearwings looks like wasps thanks to its colors, banding, and transparent wings.



 Updated: 8/17/2020; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.InsectIdentification.org




A type of Borer moth, the Ironweed Clearwing is often seen in areas where ironweed grows, a type of flowering plant in the Aster family. The moth's body may be black or brown with yellow banding around the abdomen. A flourish of hairs grow from the tip of the abdomen, like short tail feathers. The clear wings are bordered in black or brown and legs are yellow. The antennae have a white band on them, which helps differentiate this species from other Clearwing Borers. The thorax has yellow lines on either side of it and possibly a third running down the center. Because this is a moth, it does not sting despite looking like a wasp.

Caterpillars for this species dig into the roots of ironweed plants and feed. This moth is also called the Eupatorium Borer Moth, which reflected the genus name of a type of Joe-Pye Weed. It is now in a different genus, but it is likely the caterpillar feeds on it in addition to ironweed.

Look for Ironweed Clearwings in meadows and areas where ironweed grows. It is a day flyer, taking full advantage of the protection from predators that its wasp-like body and behavior give it.


General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon
Hairy insect icon
Striped or banded insect icon


Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Sesiidae [ View More ]
          Genus: Carmenta [ View More ]
            Species: bassiformis
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Descriptors
Scientific Name: Carmenta bassiformis
Other Name(s): Eupatorium Borer Moth
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 8mm to 14mm (0.31in to 0.55in)
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: black; yellow; brown; red
Descriptors: bands; transparent wings; wasp-like; furry tail; flying;
Relative Size Comparison
Lo: 8mm | Hi: 14mm
Territorial Reach (A-to-Z)
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
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Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
Mexican National Flag Graphic
Mexico
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns.
Territorial Map
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
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Canadian territory of Saskatchewan graphic
Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic


Butterfly and Moth Anatomy
Graphic showing basic anatomy of a common North American butterfly and moth insect
1
Antennae: Butterflies and Moths have a pair of antennae on the head used for sensing.
2
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and proboscis.
3
Thorax: Home to the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
4
Abdomen: Contains vital internal organs such as the heart(s) and reproduction facilities.
5
Forewing: The upper, forward wing pair used for flying.
6
Hindwing: The lower, rearward wing pair used for flying.
NOTE: Butterflies and Moths are part of the Lepidopteran order as they share many similarities.