Believe it or not, this amazing creature is a moth, an aptly named clearwing moth – you can see parts of her wings are not covered by scales so are transparent. She is a Six-belted clearwing (Bembecia ichneumoniformis) and I know it’s a female because she only has five belts, i.e. five yellow stripes on her abdomen – the males have six.
I discovered her completely by chance – I was scanning the ground at Cosmeston Lakes Country Park for butterflies and happened to notice her stripes. Cosmeston actually has the perfect habitat for these moths as they like chalk and coastal grasslands and quarries, and their caterpillars like to munch on Common Bird’s-foot trefoil, which grows locally in abundance. I’m amazed, then, that there have been very few locally recorded sightings – maybe everyone who spots them thinks they’re wasps or bees.
These are day-flying moths and the adults are on the wing between June and August, so I’ll be on the look out for more of them over the coming weeks.