There are two narrow whitish bands on the abdomen on the females, with three on the males. Both have a tail-fan with a central orange-red vertical patch in the centre.

The adults fly by day, usually in sunny conditions and sometimes visit flowers, such as Common Mallow or various composites. They overwinter as larvae, sometimes twice. The caterpillars can be found from August to the following May feeding within the tap roots of larger, typically isolated, plants.

Size and Family

  • Family  Clearwings (Sesiidae)
  • Small Sized 
  • Wingspan Range  18-26mm

Conservation Status

  • UK BAP: Priority Species
  • Fully protected in Great Britain
  • Rare (Red Data Book)

Caterpillar Food Plants

Curled Dock (Rumex crispus), Common Sorrel (Rumex acetosa)


Tops of shingle beaches, areas of railway ballast, broken chalk undercliff, roadside verges, usually by the sea.


  • Countries – England
  • Kent, coastal. Old records from Hampshire, Sussex and Essex, with an unconfirmed record from Devon.
  • Distribution Trend Since 1970’s = Britain: Declining
Fiery Clearwing by Keith Tailby

Fiery Clearwing

Fiery Clearwing - Bill Urwin

Fiery Clearwing

Fiery Clearwing - Ben Sale

Fiery Clearwing

Fiery Clearwing - Ben Sale

Fiery Clearwing

Fiery Clearwing (egg) - oldbilluk

Fiery Clearwing (egg)

Similar species