And warm, too, at a sweltering 50° F, so I made plans to be up late looking for moths and caddisflies. I turned on the porch light, made a little cup of espresso, and waited awhile. When I went out I almost couldn’t believe what I saw: Ancylis albacostana. The broad white band on the forewings certainly seemed to point to that species. But there were some differences. First, the wings are not uniformly leaden gray. Instead, there is a very noticeable amount of red forming a narrow triangle above the white band and is separated from that by a narrow black line. Then, below the white band is a narrow ash gray band. The main part of the forewings are leaden-gray. Finally, near the beginning of the forewings are two raised bumps. When I compared this moth to available photos it seemed not match well at all. The description of Ancylis albacostana by Kearfott is also at odds with this moth’s appearance. In an earlier post (here) I stated I had found Ancylis albacostana but later retracted that (there) when it appeared the moth in question was actually Capis curvata.
Also attracted to the light last night were five individuals of the caddisfly Glyphopsyche irrorata and three of the moth Agonopterix argillacea. I’ll be up late again tonight to get more photos of this Ancylis and other moths.
The insect above is a caddisfly and one of many caddisfly species that live in northern Minnesota. Caddisflies (Order Trichoptera) are typically active during the warm months of summer and early fall but this caddisfly was active on the evening of April 25 when air temperatures were in the low 40s. It took me about a couple of days to figure out the species after searching Bug Guide and comparing photos (compare the pattern on the ends of the wings with this) and then doing a literature search. This caddisfly is Glyphopsyche irrorata which is in the Family Limnephilidae and is interesting for a few reasons the first of which is its mode of surviving the winter. Larval G. irrorata live in small ponds such as vernal pools and peatland ponds, shallow marshes, and slow moving streams that may dry up by the end of summer. Many caddisfly species in similar habits lay eggs in gelatinous masses under moist objects in the drying water body where the larvae remain until favorable conditions return. G. irrorata has a different survival strategy. It goes through a rapid larval development after the eggs are laid in May, pupates in August, and emerges as an adult in September. Mating takes place in the autumn and then the adults go into hibernation until the following spring (more mating may take place then) when the females lay eggs in small ponds and slow moving streams. The larvae build cases from bits of organic material and mineral material and are detrivorius shredders feeding on decaying wood and other organic matter.
Another reason G. irrorata is interesting, at least from the standpoint of where this one was found, is that this species has been recorded only twice in Minnesota in 41 years. The first time was in 1977 in Clearwater County and the second was in 2000 in Cook County. This sighting makes the third time and in a new county. Although not on Minnesota’s rare species list it must be uncommon to have only two previous records in the state. This is in spite of several caddisfly surveys conducted in the state in the last 20 years. The range of G. irrorata is Nearctic extending from Newfoundland to Alaska and south to California, in the Great Lakes Region and then east to New Hampshire and Maine. The number of known sites where G. irrorata occurs in Wisconsin, Michigan, New Hampshire, and Maine are few.
G. irrorata is attracted to lights as are many caddisflies. It is also attracted to sweet liquids like maple sap in tapping buckets. Many caddisfly species that fly during the summer are nectar and sap feeders, too. Using a combination of lights and sweet liquids might be a way to attract this species.
The forewings are grayish chocolate-brown with small spots and many larger translucent patches. Length is about 16 mm.