The previous moth count on May 18 was 190 species but after last night it stands at 195 species. The moth shown above is the Powdered Bigwig (Lobophora nivigerata) and species 195. I’m not sure why it is called Powdered Bigwig although the wings do have a powdery look. It is one of the Geometers (Family Geometridae). The Powdered Bigwig was one of several that came to my porch light after sunset until about 2 AM when I decided to call it a night. Other species seen and added to the list in the last few days are Lesser Aspen Webworm Moth (Meroptera pravella, Family Pyralidae), Signate Melanolophia (Melanolophia signataria, Family Geometridae), Black-Dashed Hydriomena (Hydriomena divisaria, Family Geometridae), and One-eyed Sphinx (Smerinthus cerisyi, Family Sphingidae).
I’m hoping tonight to add five more species.
Lesser Aspen Webworm Moth (Meroptera pravella)
Signate Melanolophia (Melanolophia signataria)
Black-Dashed Hydriomena (Hydriomena divisaria)
One-eyed Sphinx (Smerinthus cerisy)
One-eyed Sphinx (Smerinthus cerisy) detail of eyespot.
I’ve been trying to wrap up this post but keep finding more moths. At the end of last week I had 6 identified moth species and 5 unidentified species since seeing the first moth of 2018 on April 18th. Over the weekend I added five more: American Lappet Moth (Phyllodesma americana), Willow Dart Moth (Cerastis salicarum), Variable Carpet Moth (Anticlea vasiliata), Featherduster Agonopterix (Agonopterix pulvipennella), and Mottled Black-marked Moth (Semioscopis aurorella) bringing the count to 11 species. But as of Tuesday (May 15) the count now stands at 16 species when I added these five: Multiform Leafroller Moth (Acleris flavivittana), Snowy-shouldered Acleris (Acleris nivisellana), Strawberry Moth (Acleris fragariana), Bent-wing Acleris (Acleris subnivana), and The Herald Moth (Scoliopteryx libatrix). And I have added six more to the “Unknown Moths” file four of which are discussed at the end of the post. So, a lot of new moth species for the property’s species checklist and summer is still a month away.
On to the featured image and the other new moths
The American Lappet Moth shown above is much more blue than is typical for the species which is yellowish-brown or reddish to almost orange. It is in the Tent Caterpillar family (Lasiocampidea) and the larvae feed on alder (Alnus spp.) birch (Betula spp.), oak (Quercus spp.), and rose (Rosa spp.). American Lappet Moth occurs over almost all of North America north of Mexico.
Willow Dart Moth (Cerastis salicarum)
Another view of Willow Dart Moth (Cerastis salicarum)
Willow Dart Moth (Cerastis salicarum) is in Noctuidae (Owlet Moths), Subfamily Noctuinae (Cutworm or Dart Moths) but different tribes (Noctuini and Xylenini respectively). Larval host plants of Willow Dart Moth are thought to be willows (Salix spp.) but this may not the case. The range of Willow Dart Moth is from southern Canada to the northern US.
Variable Carpet Moth (Anticlea vasiliata) is in the Family Geometridae (Geometrid Moths), Subfamily Larentiinae. Its larvae feed on red raspberry (Rubus idaeus). Variable Carpet Moth occurs from Newfoundland to North Carolina and Tennessee, west to California and British Columbia.
Featherduster Agonopterix (Agonopterix pulvipennella) and Mottled Black-marked Moth (Semioscopis aurorella) are in the moth Superfamily Gelechioidea (Twirler Moths and kin), Family Depressariidae, Subfamily Depressariinae. The larvae of Featherduster Agonopterix feed on the leaves of goldenrod (Solidago spp.) and stinging nettle (Urtica spp.). Those of Mottled Black-marked Moth feed on leaves of Prunus spp. (plums, cherries). Featherduster Agonopterix occurs from Quebec and New Brunswick to Georgia and Mississippi, and north to Saskatchewan. Mottled Black-marked Moth occurs from southeastern Canada to the northeastern US as far south as Virginia and Indiana.
Multiform Leafroller Moth (Acleris flavivittana)
Strawberry Moth (Acleris fragariana)
Bent-wing Acleris (Acleris subnivana)
Snowy-shouldered Acleris (Acleris nivisellana)
The Herald Moth (Scoliopteryx libatrix)
Multiform Leafroller Moth (Acleris flavivittana), Strawberry Moth (Acleris fragariana), Bent-wing Acleris (Acleris subnivana), and Snowy-shouldered Acleris (Acleris nivisellana) are in the Family Tortricidae (Tortricid Moths), Subfamily Tortricinae, Tribe Tortricini. All four species range from southern Canada to the northeastern US with scattered occurrences from Louisiana to Georgia. Snowy-shouldered Acleris and Strawberry Moth are also found from California to British Columbia.
Strawberry Moth (Acleris fragariana) is a generalist feeder on members of the Rosaceae. Larval hosts include strawberry (Fragaria spp.), blackberry (Rubus spp.), rose (Rosa spp.), plum (Prunus spp.), cinquefoil (Potentilla spp.), and black chokeberry (Photinia melanocarpa).
Snowy-shouldered Acleris (Acleris nivisellana) larvae feed on pin cherry (Prunus pensylvanica) and Multiform Leafroller Moth (Acleris flavivittana) feed on apple (Malus spp.) and pin cherry (Prunus pensylvanica). The larvae of Bent-wing Acleris (Acleris subnivana) are more specialized feeding on red oak (Quercus rubra) but also Vernonia spp. (ironweed) which is a herbaceous plant in the aster family (Asteraceae). Note: The Bent-wing Acleris I have here looks a little like what I thought might be (but wasn’t very sure of) Forbes’ Acleris (Acleris forbesana) in an earlier post. I will have to revisit that one.
The Herald Moth (Scoliopteryx libatrix) is in the Superfamily Noctuoidea (Owlet Moths and kin), Family Erebidae, Subfamily Scoliopteryginae, Tribe Scoliopterygini. Its larvae feed on poplar (Populus spp.) and willow (Salix spp.). There are typically two generations a summer. The last generation overwinters in the adult form in cavities, shed walls, and caves and emerges in the spring. The Herald Moth is a Holarctic species which in the North American part of its range occurs from southern Canada and over much of the US.
Some unknown moths no longer unknown
Also, in the past couple of weeks I have figured out several more moths from last summer’s photos. Among them are Large Mossy Lithacodia Moth (Protodeltote muscosula), Morrison’s Sooty Dart Moth (Pseudohermonassa tenuicula), Jeweled Tailed Slug Moth (Packardia geminata), and Garden Tortix (Clepsis peritana). With the newly identified species from last year and this year the moth species checklist is now at 190 species.
Large Mossy Lithacodia Moth (Protodeltote muscosula)
Large Mossy Lithacodia Moth (Protodeltote muscosula) is in the Superfamily Noctuoidea (Owlet Moths and kin), Family Noctuidae (Owlet Moths), Subfamily Eustrotiinae. The larvae are reported to feed on feed on sawgrass (Cladium) which is not a grass but a sedge (Cyperaceae). Because the only Cladium in Minnesota is C. mariscoides, a rare species, I suspect this moth’s larvae also feed on other wetland species of Cyperaceae. Large Mossy Lithacodia occurs over much of the eastern US east of the Great Plains and parts of southern Ontario and Quebec.
Morrison’s Sooty Dart Moth (Pseudohermonassa tenuicula) is in the Superfamily Noctuoidea (Owlet Moths and kin), Family Noctuidae (Owlet Moths) Subfamily Noctuinae (Cutworm or Dart Moths), Tribe Noctuini, Subtribe Noctuinaarvae. Larvae feed on mannagrass (Glyceria spp.) a plant commonly found in wetlands. Morrison’s Sooty Dart Moth ranges across the northern United States and southern Canada and north to Northwest Territories.
Jeweled Tailed Slug Moth (Packardia geminata) is in the Superfamily Zygaenoidea (Flannel, Slug Caterpillar, Leaf Skeletonizer Moths and kin), Family Limacodidae (Slug Caterpillar Moths). The green slug-like larvae are polyphagous and feed on a variety of plants such as cherry and plum (Prunus spp.) and wild raisin and arrowwood (Viburnum spp.). Jeweled Tailed Slug Moth occurs in the eastern US east of the Great Plains and in southern Ontario and Quebec.
Garden Tortix (Clepsis peritana) is in the Superfamily Tortricoidea (Tortricid Moths), Family Tortricidae (Tortricid Moths), Subfamily Tortricinae, Tribe Archipini. Larvae are generalist feeders. Among the plants they have been observed eating are strawberry (Fragaria spp.), cardoon (Cynara cardunculus), hedgenettle (Stachys spp.) and other low plants. Dying or dead leaves are the preferred food source but they will eat the fruit of strawberries. The larvae also eat dead citrus leaves in groves and will switch to live leaves once these are used up or caterpillar populations are high. Garden Tortix occurs widely across North America.
A small brown moth larva I found the other day in a wetland on a clump of Canada bluejoint grass (Calamagrostis canadensis). Species? I don’t yet. That’s it for now.
Beadle, D. and Leckie, S. (2012). Peterson Field Guide to Moths of Northeastern North America. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, Boston. 640 pages.
These tiny Tortricid moths with white stripes along their wing margins are really confusing me. On Monday I wrote about a moth that didn’t seem to be a close fit with the description for the species Ancylis albacostana which I thought it might be. It was by accident I figured it out. The moth is Acleris celiana and not an Ancylis at all. I was out on my porch Monday night sipping espresso and taking photos of little moths, caddisflies, and some sort of wasp (a species of Ophion I think) when this same kind of moth flew in. I got one shot before it took off and had to wait awhile before it came back and I could get more shots. Later, while going through photos on the Moth Photographers Group (MPG) trying to figure out another species I came across this which looks a lot like the moth I had just found. I have posted the images on Bug Guide and BAMONA and am awaiting comments on the species identity. (Update on 05-29-18: Bug Guide says it is Acleris celiana not Ancylis albacostana.)
Coleman first describedAcleris celiana in 1869 under the name Teras celiana. “Anterior wings rich dark chocolate-brown slightly mottled with dark gray. There is a tuft of pale ochreous scales on the center of the disk, and beyond, in the apical portion of the wing a few scattered similarly colored raised scales. Fringes gray.” There is no mention of the white band. However, both Bug Guide and MPG show specimens of Acleris celiana with and without white bands.
Kearfott’s description of Ancylis albacosana reads “Fore wing lead color, rather heavily overlaid on inner two-thirds below the costa (main vein along leading edge of wing) with brownish and blackish scales. From the base to the apex on the costa is a pure white band, widest at end of cell, where it is nearly a quarter the width of wing; continuing to base with only a trifle less width, and lower edge curving evenly into costa and ending in a point at apex.”
I’m leaning strongly towards Acleris celiana on this one. Finding Ancylis albacostana would be great but the species is not, as far as I know, documented from Minnesota although there is at least one record from adjacent Wisconsin.
As for the rest of Monday night’s mothing, I found three more moth species and got a very clean shot of the caddisfly Glyphopsyche irrorata. Two of the moths are in Agonopterix (possibly A. canadensis and A. clemensella) and one is another Acleris (possibly Acleris forbesana). And now it is 10:10 PM Tuesday night and I’m staying up late looking for more moths. So far I have two new ones to figure out.
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.