Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFSesiidae Members:
Synanthedon Members:
2 NC Records

Synanthedon pictipes (Grote & Robinson, 1868) - Lesser Peachtree Borer Moth

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Superfamily: Sesioidea Family: SesiidaeSubfamily: SesiinaeTribe: SynanthedoniniP3 Number: 640091.00 MONA Number: 2550.00
Comments: 133 members of the Sesiidae family occur in North American north of Mexico. Species’ in the genus Synanthedon constitute half of the 30 species found in North Carolina, many being similar in appearance to one another. Some sesiids, known broadly as clearwing borers, are significant pests of commercial crops.
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984); Beadle and Leckie (2018)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIF, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: Eichlin and Duckworth (1988)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: Sexes alike and very similar to male S. exitiosa. Thorax shiny bluish-black, with narrow, pale yellow, subdorsal lines. Abdomen shiny bluish-black and proportionally long and thin. Paired pale yellow or white spots typically on anterior dorsal margin of segment 1. Fine pale yellow to white markings limited largely to lateral posterior margins of segments 2 and 4, sometimes partially or fully across top of those segments. Anal tuft long, wedge shaped, black with trace of white on lateral margins (Eichlin & Duckworth, 1988). Forewing hyaline, clear, with narrow, black margins and black discal bar. Hindwing hyaline, clear, with narrow, black margins. Patch of white scales between front of eye and base of antennae. Wing length 8-12 mm (Taft, Smitley & Snow, 2004). Similar species: Male S.exitiosa shows amber tint to hyaline wings, lacks patch of white scales in front of eyes.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: Like S. exitiosa, pictipes larvae bore beneath bark of trees in the family Rosaceae, but typically in twigs and branches rather than at or below ground level. Larvae overwinter in tunnels, pupate in June, and emerge in July (Taft, Smitley & Snow, 2004).
Distribution in North Carolina
County Map: Clicking on a county returns the records for the species in that county.
Flight Dates:
 High Mountains (HM) ‚Č• 4,000 ft.
 Low Mountains (LM) < 4,000 ft.
 Piedmont (Pd)
 Coastal Plain (CP)

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Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Forests and orchards where food plants are found.
Larval Host Plants: Prunus spp. such as peach, plum, almond and especially cherry, including ornamental varieties (Taft, Smitley & Snow, 2004). - View
Observation Methods: Not attracted to lights or bait but may visit flowers. Most likely to be seen employing synthetic, pheromone-baited traps, to which males show a strong affinity (see Taft, Smitley, & Snow, 2004, for list of species-specific pheromone blends).
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks:
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: Classified as widespread in eastern North America, it is almost certainly more common in the state than records indicate. Dearth of records likely more an artifact of inconspicuous nature of pictipes, combined with so few observers deploying the specialized methods required to sample for it, rather than genuine scarcity. However, until more records are acquired, its true status will remain in question.