I found this on a redcurrent plant in my garden. Thought at first it was a wasp, but on closer inspection - confirmed by looking it up - realised it must be a currant clearwing. By the upturned and fanned out rear end I think it must be a female "calling" for a mate. It was there most of yesterday and still there for a while this morning, in exactly the same place, though not "calling"
Can anyone give more information on the lifestyle of this fascinating creature; and is it likely to damage my currant bushes?!
I'm sure someone will come along that knows a lot more then I do about this, but first I'd like to say WoW! Nice find! They are a nationally scarce moth, as you may already have read, but probably under recorded. They are definitely in decline due to less people growing food plants in gardens and allotments.
According to my information they attract males in the afternoon, sometimes in quite high numbers, so my guess is that yes either there was a male in the area that you didnt see or she is just being prepared for them to come in. They overwinter as a larva in the main stem or side stems of food plants (your red currants) but it doesnt look as though they will cause any real damage to the plants, and as they are a Nationally scare status species I hope you are happy to let them 'do thier thing' in your garden which I suppose would mean not cutting the plants back after fruiting until spring.
I'll be interested to hear the experts advice and nice shots too considering most people never even see them
Thank you very much, very interesting. I've marked this as a "correct answer", though any further information would be very welcome. All I could find in searches was information on pests on currant bushes; or an obscure scientific paper on the female's "calling" behaviour. the latter may be interesting but I was looking for more general information.
I just happened to notice the insect, and at first wanted to check it wasn't a kind of sawfly or any other major pest. Also, it was so pretty - the iridescent blue doesn't come out very well on the photos. The only reason I knew it was a clearwing was because of having read about them and seen pictures. I've never seen a real one before.
I'm glad it isn't a serious pest and wish it well - as long as it doesn't have too many babies!
It might be worth note here to say that the larva will undoubtably do some leaf damage to your plants, they will eat before pupating in the stem but I still don't think it would be enough damage considering the number of the moths you might have to do any real damage to your 'crop' of berries in the end.