Seq # 390140010

Synanthedon scoliaeformis (Borkhausen, 1789) Species

Last modified: June 23, 2021, 8:23 p.m.

This is a rare and local species in Belgium, known only from the southern and eastern part of the country.


Family: Sesiidae > Subfamily: Sesiinae > Tribus: Synanthedonini > Genus: Synanthedon > Species: Synanthedon scoliaeformis
Vernacular names
Grote berkenwespvlinder (NL), Welsh Clearwing (EN), Sésie du bouleau (FR), Großer Birken-Glasflügler (DE)
First mention in Belgium
Lhomme L. 1946–1963. Catalogue des Lépidoptères de France et de Belgique. Volume II Microlépidoptères. (deuxième partie). — — : 489–1253. On page 513.




S. scoliaeformis is a large species (25–35 mm) that can be recognised by the extensive transparent areas and the colouration of the anal tuft (orange-brown in males and brighter orange in females). The antennae are black but with pale yellow scales distally. This is especially striking in the females in which almost half of the antennae is almost white. Dorsally, the abdomen has 2 yellow bands. The proboscis is, as in all species of this genus, well developed and functional.
The adult males are attracted quite well to a pheromone developed for this species.

Museum specimens

Specimens in nature


The egg is brown and has a white net-shaped mesh on the surface.

No pictures yet!


The caterpillar is off-white and has a brown neck-shield, typical of Sesiidae.

No pictures yet!


The exit holes, with a diameter of 4–5 mm, can be found on the trunk of old Betula (birch) trees from ground level to about 2 m high.


The red-brown pupa is located in a strong cocoon made from wood particles and lined on the inside with silk.


The female deposits the eggs on the bark of old Betula trees, often near old exit holes or on cankerous swellings. On such trees, the trunk is no longer smooth and white, but dark brown-black, rough and deeply fissured. Often, the same tree is used for many years resulting in a so-called "breeding tree".
The young larva lives between bark and wood and feeds on the cambium sap of the tree. The caterpillar winters in a silken cocoon: a hibernaculum. In the second year, the larva enlarges the gallery. Often there is only one rather short gallery that is made mostly just inside the bark and not into the wood, and is typically flat and broad. After a second hibernation, that again takes place in a white silken cocoon, the larva enlarges the gallery a little bit to typically about 7 cm. Non used parts of it are often filled with moist dark brown frass and the larva lives in a black and very wet environment caused by the copious amount of sap. Generally in May, the caterpillar constructs a gallery towards the outer surface of the bark leaving only a thin layer of bark, separating it from the outside world. Directly underneath the future exit hole, a strong and firm cocoon is constructed from dark brown wood-grains from the bark. This cocoon is lined at the inside with spun silk. On hatching, the pupa works its way out through the covering lid or pushes it aside and hatches subsequently. As usual, the exuvium remains partly in the bark for some time.

Flight periods

The adults fly between late May and mid July.

Observed on

Host plant (species):
Betula pendula and Betula pubescens
Host plant (genera):

The monophagous larva bores between the bark and wood of old Betula trees.


Old, often solitary Betula (birch) trees in gardens, along alleys, lakes and forest edges or in clearings form the ideal habitat for S. scoliaeformis.