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Clearwing Moth (Sesiidae)? - Penstemonia

Clearwing Moth (Sesiidae)? - Penstemonia
Santa Barbara County, California, USA
May 19, 2010
Size: ~1cm
Found in coastal sandy back dune habitat.

Penstemon host plant possibilities
The only species of Penstemon that comes up on a search of the CalFlora database for northern Santa Barbara County coastal dune areas is P. centranthifolius...see this link.

Comparing to the plates at the end of Duckworth & Eichlin(1)(1978), this looks closest to the female of P. clarkei there, and the range map they give for that species seems to barely reach northern S.B. County coast. (All, as expected, consistent with the comments of W.H. Taft below.)

The above authors state that all known species of Penstemonia are root borers in various Penstemon. From their discussion of P. clarkei:

"The larvae bore in the roots, tunneling into the stems prior to pupation. A thinly covered circular exit hole is prepared in the stem at the top of the burrow. Before pupating the larvae construct firm, oval, silk-lined cocoons of frass and wood chips."(1)

So I guess larvae may be hard to find! (But I wouldn't put it beyond you :-)

Host Plant
Yes, I've seen P. centranthifolius and it's the only species I've seen out on Vandenberg (where this moth is from) but always more interior. This moth was found out on the back dunes so if it does use Penstemon it flew in from elsewhere (not implausible, especially with the wind). There was Horkeilia in the area which is why I was thinking the strawberry crown borer back when I posted.

Moved from Clearwing Moths.

Moth ID
This moth is in the genus Penstemonia most likely species clarkei. All the species in this genus use beard-tongue (Penstemon) as a host plant. This is a perplexing complex of species that is difficult to define according to Dr. Tom Eichlin. That is the most that can be known from this image.

Dr Taft will find the image here
and he will comment on the ID.

Synanthedon bibionipennis?
Maybe Synanthedon bibionipennis - Strawberry Crown Moth?

Moved from ID Request.

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