Melittia cucurbitae

Squash Vine Borer
Melittia cucurbitae

POHL: 64-0081
MONA: 2536
GenBank: 655047

Identification: Wasp-like.
Head: Top of head dark bronze-black. Eyes orange. Nose cone (palpi) orange, white on underside.
Antenna: Black. Males have row of hairs on one side (pectinate), antenna appear thicker.
Thorax: Dark bronze-black with white tuft a side edges.
Wings: Forewing bronze-black; fringe thick sometimes slightly lighter in colour. Hindwing transparent, veins and fringe brown.
Legs: Black with orange and black scaling. Hind legs thickly covered with orange and black hair. Front foot black, mid and hind feet striped.
Abdomen: Colour can vary from yellow to orange. Segments 1 and 2 black. Segment 3 orange. Other segments mostly orange with a large black dot at center of segment. Male abdomen usually has last 2 segments dark, with pointed hair tuft. Female tip bluntly rounded, usually red. Underside orange-yellow.

Size: 14 to 16 mm long. Wingspan 25 to 32 mm.

Habitat: Gardens and meadows.

Food: Adults often found on milkweed blossoms and flowering garden herbs. Larvae feed on squashes, pumpkin, zucchini, gourds. Sometimes on cucumber and watermelon.

Flight Time: Late June to August.

Life Cycle: Reddish-brown, somewhat flattened, very tiny eggs laid on crown root to 1 foot above on stems, on leaf stalks, leaves and fruit buds. Larva bores into plant stems and feed on juices, leaving a sawdust trail. Mature larvae burrow 25 to 50 mm into the soil and over-winter, pupating in the spring in the same tunnel. Larvae appear grub-like, but with legs – 3 pair on thorax and 5 pair on abdomen. Mature larvae are 25 mm long, white with a dark head. Adults are day flyers. One generation per year in Ontario.

Comments: Essex County – Ojibway Prairies; Pelee Island. Common in Ontario.

For information on synonyms, references and type specimens see next page

Carmenta pyralidiformis

Boneset Clearwing Borer
Carmenta pyralidiformis

POHL: 64-0155
MONA: 2608
GenBank: None

Identification:
Head: Brown-black. Nose cone (palpi) orangish-yellow, tip black. Orange-yellow stripe across back of head.
Antenna: Long, reaching to mid-wing. Black, thickening toward tips on male. Tips curved and pointed on both male and female.
Thorax: Brown-black with 2 yellow longitudinal lines, one at each side.
Wings: Forewing brown-black entirely on female. Male may have a thin yellow streak before mid-wing  and some yellow streaks near wing tip. Hindwing transparent with wide black border and fringe.
Legs: Dark with various amounts of yellowish to whitish scaling. Male has hind shin (tibiae) yellow. Feet pale.
Abdomen: Abdomen brown-black. Fourth segment has a wide, bright yellow band. Male also has a narrow band on last segment. Female tip entirely black, brush-like with a square tip. Male tip pointed, sometimes with yellow fringe at each side.

Size: 5 to 11 mm long. Wingspan 12 to 23 mm. Females large, males small.

Habitat: Moist to wet areas, stream and river banks, ditches. Also along railway lines or gravelly areas.

Food: Adults feed on flower nectar. Larvae feed in lower stems and roots of Common Boneset Eupatorium perfoliatum growing in damp places, and Tall Throughwort Eupatorium altissimum which is native only to Pelee Island and inventive, usually along railway lines and gravelly soil in the rest of Ontario. Tall Throughwort is listed as S1 (endangered) in Ontario. Larvae do not feed on Joe-Pye Weeds Eutrochium purpureum and E. maculatum, previously named Eupatorium.

Flight Time: August to mid-September.

Life Cycle: Females deposit light yellow, oblong eggs on the underside of Boneset leaves usually near the base of the plant. Larvae drill into the leaf stem, then into the main plant stem, forming tunnels down to the root crown. Over-winters as a half-grown larvae in the tunnels. Mature larvae are 14 mm long, dirty white, head light brown, bi-lobed, slightly hairy. Shield and legs brown. The next spring, they move up the tunnels and create an exit hole, then pupate in the tunnel (20 days). They emerge as adults in early morning and mate within an hour. One generation per year.

Comments: Rare. Listed for Ontario, but only 2 other individuals found: BugGuide from Hastings, near Peterborough and Karwatha Lakes by Lake Simcoe. Essex County – Wheatley in 2014 only.
DNA problems. BOLD had 2 samples ‘suppressed’ by GenBank although Carmenta pyralidiformis is unique – the only Clearwing Borer with one wide yellow band on abdomen.

For information on synonyms, references and type specimens see next page

Alcathoe caudata

Clematis Clearwing
Alcathoe caudata

POHL: 64-0172
MONA: 2623
GenBank: 1029665 tentative

Identification: Note: Colours are variable.
Head: Black. Nose cone (palpi) bright orangish-yellow, reaching to top of head. Darker orangish-yellow stripe entirely across back of head.
Antenna: Bright orangish-yellow. Long, reaching to mid-wing. Males may have some black scaling on top side, from base to almost mid-length of antenna.
Thorax: Reddish to purplish-black. Male thorax may have some orange tuft-like scaling.
Wings: Male forewing reddish to purplish-black, may have streaked, transparent area before middle of the wing, absent on worn individuals.
Female forewing entirely reddish to purplish-black.
Both have hindwings transparent with reddish to purplish-black borders and a thick mark across wing.

Legs: Male: Bright yellow to orangish. Thighs (femora) with thick black scaling on top side. Hind shin has patch of black hairs. Hind foot (tarsi) has tuft of orange scales at base. Worn individuals have legs almost entirely pale yellow.
Female: Thighs (femora) black; middle and hind shin (tibiae) black. Rest of legs and feet yellow to orangish. Front foot has tuft of black at base, absent in worn individuals.
Abdomen: Reddish to purplish-black on both sexes. Female has black, squarish tuft at abdomen tip. Male has black tuft each side of abdomen tip and a bright yellow to orangish tail which is as long as the abdomen.

Size: 10 to 15 mm long. Wingspan 20 to 32 mm.

Habitat: Wet forests, streambanks with Virgin’s Bower (also called Woodbine).

Food: Adults feed on flower nectar, mostly the host plant flowers. Larva feed on the roots and stems of Virgin’s Bower Clematis virginiana.

Flight Time: July and August

Life Cycle: Females lay eggs on our only native Clematis, Virgin’s Bower Clematis virginiana. Females are reported to lay eggs at the root of the plant, but photographs show the female laying eggs on the underside of leaves. Larvae feed in the roots near the soil surface, or in the larger plant stems that reach the ground. Larvae 14 mm long, dull white with 2 rows of tiny brown dots; brownish head and legs. Shield is light brown with 2 oblong, slanted dark brown spots, almost joined at bottom. Pupates in a silken mass mixed with debris and over-winters. Chrysalis formed inside cocoon is spined and helps the moth move to surface of root or stem to emerge in July. One generation per year. Reports of feeding on Currant Ribes are in error. All Alcathoe species or sub-species feed only on Clematis.

Comments: Rare. Essex County – Wheatley per photos. Also recorded in Toronto and Belleville area. Two specimens in the Canadian National Collection (CNC). Note: DNA problems. See next page.

For information on synonyms, references and type specimens see next page

Albuna fraxini

Virginia Creeper Clearwing
Albuna fraxini

POHL: 64-0070
MONA: 2532
GenBank: None

Identification:
Head: Black. Nose cone (palpi) reaches to top of eyes; entirely black on female; some yellow on underside on male.
Antenna: White; base grayish-black, variable, sometimes covering up to half of the antenna; tips black, curved.
Thorax: Black with various amounts of whitish scale. Usually more defined as lines on the male.
Wings: Female front wings entirely shiny black with a reddish-orange dash at 2/3 wing length (discal cell). Male front wing transparent, except for a black patch before the red dash and a black patch at wing tip. Hind wings transparent with a black border and fringe. A black line at end of discal cell.
Legs: Black. Front legs have thick black fringe and pale yellow feet (tarsi).
Abdomen: Black with white tuft each side of first segment. Bands, if any, are faint whitish. Male has large, fan-shaped tuft at tip (not at side edges), sometimes divided. Female has a black tuft each side of abdomen tip.

Similar Species: Some Synanthedon have white on the antennae, but are more stout bodied and without the red dash in discal cell.

Size: About 18 mm long. Wingspan 24 to 27 mm.

Habitat: Deciduous forests and forest edges.

Food: Adults feed on flower nectar. Larvae feed on all Ash trees Fraxinus species; Virginia Creeper Ampelopsis quinquefolia and hybrids like Boston Ivy.

Flight Time: June to August.

Life Cycle: The larva feed on roots at ground level or several inches below. Pupation takes place within the larval galleries. One generation per year. Larvae yellowish; head mottled brown with a black band across the face.

Comments: Essex County – Ojibway Prairies. Across southern Ontario.
Note: DNA species testing at BOLD on Albuna fraxini do not have corresponding GenBank numbers, and Albuna fraxini is not listed at GenBank.

For information on synonyms, references and type specimens see next page

Schreckensteinia erythriella

Bristle-legged Moth
Schreckensteinia erythriella

POHL: 50-0001
MONA: 2507
GenBank: 1888670

Identification:
Head: Metallic brassy gray, slightly coppery depending on light. Nose cone (palpi) short, yellowish; tip dark.
Antenna: Short, not reaching mid-wing. Bronzy gray.
Thorax: Collar dark. Thorax wide, extending over wing bases; metallic brassy gray. Each side extension, plus the longer tip of thorax proper are rounded. Thorax tip lighter in colour, sometimes almost white.
Wings: Long, narrow with sharp pointed tips, extending well past abdomen. Metallic brassy gray, slightly coppery depending on light. A faint lighter line along the inner margin from tip of thorax to tip of abdomen. Fringe brownish-gray. Hind-wings more reddish-gray, fringe very long, same colour. Some reports that one sex is lighter coloured than the other.
Legs: Reddish-brown to light gray with some yellowish-white scaling, especially on thighs (femora). Hind shin (tibiae) has two sets of very long spines. Spines sometimes break off. Moth usually rests with hind legs elevated.
Abdomen: Short; same colour as wings.

Similar Species: Our only other Schreckensteinia festaliella has cream stripes on the wings.

Size: 5 to 6 mm long. 10 to 12 mm wing span

Habitat: Forest edges, dry meadows with sumac.

Food: Adults only found on Fleabane Erigeron, Black-eyed Susan Rudbeckia and Flattop Goldenrod Euthamia graminifolia. Larvae feed on buds and fruit of Sumac Rhus.

Flight Time: May to August.

Life Cycle: Two generations per year. Adults day-flying and also attracted to lights at night. Larvae: dark green with a pale brown head. Abdominal legs thin, short; prolegs thin and long. Reddish frass. Pupates inside a loosely woven mesh or lace cocoon.

Comments: Rare. 2 from Toronto area in Aug, 2012 and May 2013. Guelph in Aug, 2010. More common in Essex County.

Synonyms: Clemens 1860
Chrysocorys erythriella
Note: Curtis in 1833 first used the name Chrysocorys in Entomologist Magazine, Vol. 1, later decided it was a synonym of Schreckensteinia by Hubner.

References:
Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, 1860 by Clemens, Vol. 12, pp. 171 to 172.
Entomologische Zeitung, 1876, Vol. 37 by Frey & Boll, pp. 214 to 215.
United States Dept. Agriculture, 5th Report Entomological Commission, 1890, Bulletin #7 by Packard, pg. 665.
Tineina of North America, 1872 by Clemens, pp. 132 to 133: Same as original description.
Illinois Biological Monographs, 1915, Vol. 2 #1 by Fracker.
Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station, 1923, Memoir #68 by Forbes, pp. 357 to 360.

Types:
Holotype as Chrysocoris erythriella by Clemens, 1860. Type Locality: probably Pennsylvania. In the Academy of Natural Sciences, Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Clemens Type #91.

Tarache aprica

Exposed Bird-dropping Moth
Tarache aprica

POHL: 93-1343
MONA: 9136
GenBank: 319976

Identification: Male and female are different.
Head: Black. Nose cone (palpi) very short, tip white.
Antenna: Reaches to near mid-wing; brown, sometimes with some white scaling.
Thorax: White, with varying amounts of grayish at center of thorax. Female usually has base of thorax with a narrow stripe of grayish to brown.
Wings:
Female: Dark brown, mottled with white, more so at base and tip. On outer margin (costa), a large white, squarish patch about mid-wing which has a black spot in one corner; a second, slightly smaller, white triangular patch at 2/3 wing length. Small black dot (orbicular) mid-wing. Fringe grayish, sometimes with small area of white fringe near anal angle.
Hindwing white at base, becoming grayish with a dark mark near center.

Male: White from base to mid-wing (may have some light gray shading). Black square-like area on last half of wings has right-angle or “step-down” progression to wing tip. Large, black reniform spot between steps. Outer margin (costal) base half has a gray to brownish patch. Another gray to brownish patch below the reniform spot (sometimes connected to spot). Small black dot (orbicular) mid-wing. Wing tips dark. Fringe grayish, sometimes with small area of white fringe near anal angle.
Hindwing white, grayish along outer margin.
Legs: Dark, all joints have white tips. Wide white stripe on thigh (femur). Legs appear striped.
Abdomen: White to whitish-yellow.

Similar Species: Males are similar to the Olive-shaded Bird Dropping Moth Ponometia candefacta which has the black (reniform) spot surrounded on 3 sides with dark; on T. aprica only 2 sides of the spot have a black area next to it. P. candefacta has wing tip white, on T. aprica it is dark.

Size: About 12 to 14 mm long. Wingspan 22 to 29 mm.

Habitat: Damp meadows, marshes, field edges.

Food: Larvae feed on Hollyhocks Althaea rosea and Hibiscus; both flowers and leaves.

Flight Time: May to September.

Life Cycle:Two generations per year. Adults attracted to lights. Larva is a looper, green to brown. Similar to the Small Bird-dropping Moth Ponometia erastrioides, except for a large brown spot on abdominal segment 1. Spiracles are black, surrounded with white. To 30 mm. long.
Note: The Curve-lined Tarache terminimaculata (also in Ontario) larva may also feed on Hollyhocks and Hibiscus as well as basswood.

Comments: Rare in Ontario. Two others found in Essex County – Beadle in Leamington, 2012 and Jenniskens in Harrow. One recorded from London in 1899. The Canadian National Collection (CNC) has a female from Chatham, no date.

For information on synonyms, references and type specimens see next page

Ponometia erastrioides

Small Bird-dropping Moth
Ponometia erastrioides

POHL: 93-1319
MONA: 9095
GenBank: 214371

Identification: Also called Small Bird-lime Moth.
Head: Head and nose cone (palpi) brown, back of head white.
Antenna: Light brownish-yellow; segments reach past mid-wing.
Thorax: White.
Wings: White with an irregular black, somewhat triangular patch which does not reach outer (costal) margin, or tip of wing. Outer margin has about 5 greyish marks. A tiny dark dot near wing base. Wing tip has dark dashes along border. Fringe white, slightly yellowish at tips, and sometimes with scattered patches of gray. Hindwing grayish to yellowish-white, faint line at margin; fringe white.
Legs: Brown, covered with white scale. Feet striped.
Abdomen: Creamy to brownish-white. Male tuft yellowish.

Similar Species: Olive-shaded Bird-dropping Moth Ponometia candefacta has large brown spot (reniform), surrounded with white on lower wing, and a large, brown diagonal stripe reaching wing tip at outer (costal) edge.  P. erastrioides has outer wing margin entirely white, except for the faint gray marks.

Size: 8 to 10 mm long. Wingspan 16 to 20 mm.

Habitat: Field edges, meadows, open areas.

Food: Adults nectar on a variety of flowers. Larvae feed on Ragweed Ambrosia and Burdock Arctium.

Flight Time: May to August.

Life Cycle: Three generations per year. Larvae is a looper, light brown and black; head, thorax and feed black. Feeds with P. candefacta. Feints death or vomits a green fluid if disturbed. Over-winters as a pupa, no cocoon. Adults day-flying and attracted to lights at night.

Comments: Widespread in Ontario. Common in Essex County, listed for Point Pelee.

For information on synonyms, references and type specimens see next page

Ponometia candefacta

Olive-shaded Bird-dropping Moth
Ponometia candefacta

POHL: 93-1314
MONA: 9090
GenBank: 56578

Identification: In Canada, it’s also called the Ragweed False Looper.
Head: White; face brown between eyes. Nose cone very short, tips brown.
Antenna: Brown, with some white scaling. Reaches to mid-wing.
Thorax: White, large raised tuft at tip. Tuft usually white, but sometimes darker.
Wings: Widening to a squared tip. Base 1/3 of wings white with light or dark olive-gray shading in central area. A brown, more or less triangular patch at mid-wing which may extend to dark patch (sometimes mixed with yellowish) on outer (costal) margin.
Main ID: Wide brown, slanted stripe extending from mid-wing patch to wing tip.
Main ID: In between the two dark areas is a large brown oval spot (reniform spot), surrounded with white.
Wing tip with dark dots. Fringe mixed light and dark, but not checkered. Hindwing is white, more grayish brown at margin, fringe white.
Legs: Dark brown, dusted with white. Feet striped.
Abdomen: Short, thin; grayish-white.

Similar Species: The Small Bird-dropping Moth Ponometia erastrioides lacks the large brown spot surrounded with white and the wide slanted stripe to wing tip; outer wing margin (costa) white extends right to wing tip.
Both the Olive-shaded and the Exposed Bird-dropping Moth Tarache aprica have dark brown at wing tip on outer (costal) margin.

Size: 9 to 11 mm long. Wingspan 18 to 22 mm.

Habitat: Field and forest edges; dry, sandy meadows.

Food: Adults feed on flower nectar. Larva feed on Ragweed Ambrosia, preferring the flowers. Also reported on Burdock Arctium and Bushy Asters Symphyotrichum dumosus.

Flight Time: May to June; late July to end of August.

Life Cycle: Adults are both day-flying and attracted to lights at night. 2 generations per year. Over-winters as a pupa in leaves and mosses on the ground. Larvae are loopers, green with many very thin, long white lines. A wide white line down the sides. About 20 to 24 mm.
Similar Species: The Small Bird-dropping Moth Ponometia erastrioides has dark brown on head, thorax, abdomen tip and underside. Both feed on Ragweed at the same time.

Comments: Widespread in southern Ontario. Essex County – Point Pelee. Used as a biological control in Russia since 1966 (imported from Ontario) for accidentally introduced ragweed. Although the moths are of epidemic proportion and have spread over 500 km, ragweed is still rampant.

For information on synonyms, references and type specimens see next page

Antaeotricha humilis

Dotted Leaf-tier Moth
Antaeotricha humilis

POHL: 42-0232
MONA: 1019
GenBank: 691555

Identification: Very tiny for a Bird-Dropping Moth Stenomatinae.
Head: Brownish-gray to brownish-white. Nose cone (palpi) gray streaked with white, curves up to top of head.
Antenna: Fairly thick, reaching to mid wing; dark brown, sometimes tips lighter. Male antenna minutely feathered.
Thorax: Brownish-gray to brownish-white, no tuft.
Wings: Wings long and usually folded around body; brownish-gray with varying amounts of whitish flecks. Males usually appear lighter. Three evenly spaced, slanted marks along outer (costal) margin; the first streak is broken, with a large spot in the middle of streak; the last streak near wing tip much narrower and joined to a faint sub-terminal line. Dark, thick inverted V or U shape just before mid-wing near inner margin; another thick dark dot below with continued vague, curved shading to inner margin. Wing tip has series of dark dots. Fringe slightly darker than wing color.
Legs: Front leg whitish, streaked and striped with brown. Middle leg with some brown streaks. Hind leg whitish, shin (tibia) thickened.
Abdomen: Yellowish-white.

Similar Species: Superficially similar to the much larger Flat Moth Semioscopis megamicrella and to Twirler Moth Carpatolechia belangerella.

Size: 4 to 5 mm long. Wingspan 12 mm.

Habitat: Deciduous forests

Food: Oaks – prefers White and Northern Red Oak Quercus alba & rubra

Flight Time: May to June; August to September

Life Cycle: Larvae silk leaves together, skeletonizing leaf surface while hidden inside their tent. Larva also pupate inside the tent. Two generations per year.

Comments: Not listed in Pohl 2018. Wheatley, Essex County – Aug 03, 2013.

For information on synonyms, references and type specimens see next page

Neoheliodines cliffordi

Metallic Leaf-Borer Moth
Neoheliodines cliffordi

POHL: 36-0221
MONA: 2502.1
GenBank: 147963

Identification:
Head: Smooth, metallic gray with various reflections. Back of head yellow. Nose cone (palpi) short, very slightly curved; yellow, last segment with metallic gray streaks.
Antenna: Long, reaching almost to wing tip. Thick, black with last 5 segments white.
Thorax: Shiny, metallic gray.
Wings: Base of wing metallic gray. From thorax tip of first set of metallic gray spots on inner margin its brown with a wide yellow stripe at each side of the brown. Outer (costal) margin has variable amounts of black scaling to mid-wing, rest orange. 5 raised metallic gray spots along the outer margin and 3 raised metallic gray spots along inner margin. Wing tip is black, irregular, with another very narrow, not raised, metallic gray spot transitioning into the black. Fringe dark gray. Hindwing dark gray including fringe.
Legs: Outer sides shiny gray scale, undersides cream.
Abdomen: Shiny gray, slightly darker than thorax; tip yellowish-brown.

Similar Species:  Embola ionis has no black patch after thorax and no white on antenna tips.
All others have white antenna tips:
Chrysoclista villella has outer (costal) half of base of wing black. 1st silver spot on inner margin has black tuft. White spot on costal fringe.
Chrysoclista linneella has orange wing colour surrounded with black; 3 silvery spots.
Mompha terminella has dark wing tips and large, black tufts at mid-wing.
Euclemensia bassettella has a wide black inner margin from mid-wing to tip. Antenna last 1/3 white.
Neoheliodines nyctaginella (not in Ontario) has a black line around tip of thorax (technically inner margin of wing base). Except for white antenna tips, almost identical to Embola ionis.

Size: 7 to 8 mm long. Wingspan 10 to 13 mm.

Habitat: Meadows and forest edges.

Food: Wild Four O’clocks Mirabilis nyctaginea.

Flight Time: Mid-May to early June; mid-July to early August; partial 3rd generation late August to early September in Ontario.

Life Cycle: Females lay white, flattened eggs on the underside of Four O’clock leaves, usually at the base of the plant. Larvae burrow into underside of leaf and feed internally, often with more than one larvae in a leaf. By the 3rd instar, they move to the exposed underside of the leaf and feed under a silken web. The feeding creates white ‘windows’ on the upper side of the leaf.
The larva is pale green with a blackish head and two dark spots on shield, later blending into one large spot. Over-winters as a pupa. Two generations and a partial 3rd generation.

Comments: One found at Point Pelee on July 04, 2012. Listed as new to Canada per Pohl (2018). Wheatley 2008 – 2014.

Synonyms: Harrison & Passoa 1995
Heliodines cliffordi

References:
Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington, 1995, Vol. 97 #1 by Harrison & Passoa, pp. 63 to 69.
University of California Publications in Entomology, 2004, Vol. 124 by Hsu & Powell, pp. 51 to 53.

Types:
Holotype as Heliodines cliffordi male by Harrison & Passoa, 1995. Type Locality: Illinois. In the United States National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C.

 

Embola ionis

Metallic Stem Borer
Embola ionis

POHL: 36-0232
MONA: 2500
GenBank: 1178265

Identification:
Head: Metallic black, top of head metallic gray.  Nose cone (palpi) white, tips dark.
Antenna: Long, reaching to wing tips. Metallic black.
Thorax: Metallic gray to black.
Wings: Forewing, except base entirely orange. Base metallic gray to black, with an irregular border, sometimes appearing as an additional metallic gray spot. Five raised metallic gray oblong spots along outside (costal) edge and 3 raised metallic gray spots along inner margin from mid-wing to anal angle. Fringe gray, metallic whitish along inner edge to anal angle. Hindwing black with gray fringe.
Legs: Metallic black with some metallic gray streaks.
Abdomen: Metallic black, more brassy on male; whitish tip.

Similar Species: All others have white antenna tips:
Neoheliodines cliffordi has a wide black stripe from thorax tip to first set of metallic silver spots and black, irregular-shaped wing tip.
Chrysoclista villella has outer (costal) half of base of wing black. 1st silver spot on inner margin has black tuft. White spot on costal fringe.
Chrysoclista linneella has orange wing colour surrounded with black; 3 silvery spots.
Mompha terminella has dark wing tips and black tufts at mid-wing.
Euclemensia bassettella has a wide black inner margin from mid-wing to tip. Antenna last 1/3 white.
Neoheliodines nyctaginella (not in Ontario) has a black line around tip of thorax (technically inner margin of wing base). Except for white antenna tips, almost identical to Embola ionis.

Size: About 5 to 6 mm long. Wingspan 9 to 12 mm.

Habitat: Meadows and forest edges.

Food: Adults – flower nectar, especially Fleabane. Larvae feed on Wild Four O’clocks Mirabilis nyctaginea.

Flight Time: Mid-June to mid-July in Ontario.

Life Cycle: Female deposits pinkish-orange eggs on side of axillary buds. Larva enter stems and tunnel down. 6 instars if over-wintering, 5 if not. Pupates in the stem. Over-winters as half-grown larvae. Larvae are waxy, whitish with dark head and collar (cervical shield). Mature larvae have spotted abdomens, and just before pupating, they become entirely yellow. Pupate in tunnel after 25 days. Embola ionis  adult does not raise its hind legs when resting. 3 generations per year in Illinois, probably only 1 or 2 in Ontario.

Comments: One found at Point Pelee on Jun 22, 2010. Listed as new to Canada per Pohl (2018). Wheatley 2007 & 2014.

Synonyms: Clarke 1952
Heliodines ionis

References:
Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington, 1952, Vol. 54 #3 by Clarke, pg. 138.
Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington, 1956, Vol. 58 #1 by Webster, pp. 43-46.
University of California Publications, Entomology, 2005, Vol. 124 by Hsu & Powell, pp. 58 to 60.

Types:
Holotype as Heliodines ionis male by Clarke, 1952. Type Locality: Illinois. In the United States National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C. Type #61496.

 

 

 

Semioscopis inornata

Inornate Flatbody Moth
Semioscopis inornata

POHL: 42-0128
MONA: 0914
GenBank: 687133

Identification:
Head: Brownish-gray, mixed with varying amounts of white. Nose cone (palpi) long, reaching to back of head; whitish with brown streaks and stripes.
Antenna: Reaching to mid-wing. Base (scape) short, dark. Segments grayish-yellow, the first 1/3 of segments striped (annulated) with white.
Thorax: Brownish-gray, mixed with varying amounts of white. Dark tuft at mid-thorax.
Wings: Yellowish-brown to grayish-white, heavily to lightly speckled with dark brown. None of the speckles are well-defined. Speckles darker along outer (costal) edge and around wing tip; two streaks of darker speckles across wing and the 1/3 and 2/3 area. Also at 2/3 of wing a white spot above dark speckles, sometimes very faded. Fringe whitish, with a darker line through the fringe just before tips. Hindwing grayish-white, fringe pale.
Legs: Grayish-white, streaked and spotted with brown. Feet striped brown and white.
Abdomen: Gray, tinged with brownish-yellow. Male tip has yellowish tuft. Underside whitish-yellow with faint grayish line at each side.

Similar Species: Most of the individuals in Ontario are consistently dark. Some very light individuals can be confused with Semioscopis megamicrella which flies at the same time, but has well-defined dark markings on lower wing area.

Size: 10 to 15 mm long. Wingspan 25 to 33 mm.

Habitat: Wet forests, lowlands, streambanks.

Food: Poplar Populus and Willow Salix.

Flight Time: Mar to May

Life Cycle: One of the first moths to appear in the spring. Females lay eggs on budding leaves and twigs of Poplar and Willow. Larvae are leafrollers and probably spend the winter in cocoon stage on the ground (per Hodges 1974). Caterpillar (20 mm.) is light green, thick and flat with a wide, pale head. No black marks.

Comments: Ontario per Pohl (2018). Essex County.

For information on synonyms, references and type specimens see next page

Machimia tentoriferella

Gold-striped Leaftier Moth
Machimia tentoriferella

POHL: 42-0257
MONA: 0951
GenBank: 691653

Identification:
Head: Cream-coloured. Nose cone (palpi) very long, extending to back of head; cream, 2nd joint has black scales on outside.
Antenna: Reaching to mid-wing. Base (scape) short, creamy. Segments creamy, mixed with brownish-gray.
Thorax: Light yellowish-brown, faintly speckled with dark brown. Sometimes thorax has a slightly reddish to pinkish tinge. Dark line across tip of thorax.
Wings: Light yellowish brown, faintly speckled with dark brown; sometimes with a lightly reddish to pinkish tinge. A tiny dark dash at wing base on outer (costa) edge, barely visible. A dark double spot, sometimes joined, at center of base 1/3 of wing. Another slightly slanted dash at 2/3 wing.  A diffuse dark speckled patch or a small spot with dark speckles on inner margin at mid-wing. Dark thick line or a series of large, blended spots follow contours of wing tip. The area between these spots and tip often darker – both the line and darker area often very faded in older individuals. Wing tip margin also has a series of small dark dots.  Fringe colour same as wing, longer on inner margin.
Hindwing per literature: pale grayish brown; yellowish, irrorate with fuscous; lightly infuscated; fuscous with reddish cast – pick one.
Legs: Yellowish, covered with dark brownish scales, except tips of segments. Hind foot pale yellowish.
Abdomen: Flattened, yellowish-brown, streaked with black.

Similar Species: Twirler Moth Gerdana caritella and Psilocorsis reflexella  both have darker head and thorax.

Size: 11 to 13 mm. Wingspan 20 to 26 mm.

Habitat: Deciduous forests.

Food: Feeds on a wide variety of deciduous trees: ash, elm, maple, hazel, hickory; fruit trees cherry, apple.

Flight Time: Late August to late September

Life Cycle: Assumed females lay eggs on twigs; eggs over-winter, since adults are never seen in spring. Larvae (12 mm. long) found in June and July. They roll the underside of leaves lengthwise and silk them closed in a tube-like formation, feeding on the leaf edges at night. Moving to a new leaf, it will devour the silk from the old leaf first. Caterpillars are green, with a large, shiny green head. Mature larvae have a double lighter green stripe each side of center, down length of abdomen. Pupa shiny, dark reddish brown is formed inside the leaf roll in July to early August. Adults found on tree trunks; attracted to lights.

Comments: Ontario per Pohl (2018). Essex County.

For information on synonyms, references and type specimens see next page

Ethmia zelleriella

Zeller’s Ethmia Moth
Ethmia zelleriella

POHL: 42-0199
MONA: 0992
GenBank: 687038

Identification:
Head: White with a black spot at back of head, as all Ethmia. Nose cone (palpi) curves past top of head. 2nd segment is black with a white tip. Last segment is white, sometimes with a fleck or two of black scales.
Antenna: Long, reaching almost to wing tip. Base (scape) white with black tip. Antenna segments grayish, sometimes with white on first few segments.
Thorax: White with 4 to 6 spots along outer border.
Wings: White. Inner half of wings with large black spots. Outer half of wings with black streaks and some black scale shading along outer (costal) margin – can be difficult to see. Wing tip has a series of 8 to 9 black spots. Fringe white. Hindwings white, slightly more brownish near tip. Fringe white.
Legs: Main ID: Fairly bright, straw yellow with black stripes on front and middle feet.
Abdomen: Straw yellow. Male has tuft at tip.

Similar Species: Four Ethmia in Ontario:
Ethmia bipunctella has wings longitudinally entirely white on inner half i.e. down the back with wings closed; outer half entirely black.
Ethmia monticola has wings longitudinally entirely white on inner half, with a thin black line along inner border. Outer half white with black streaks and spots. Black lines in a fan shaped contour before wing tip.
Ethmia longimaculella is almost identical to Ethmia zelleriella, but has less streaks, no dark scaling on outer (costal) edge which is difficult to see and legs are white, not yellow. Feet white striped with black.
Ermine Moths Yponomeuta  are white with black spots also. They have no streaks, only spots.

Size: 10 to 11 mm long.

Habitat: Forest edges and meadows.

Food: Miami Mist Phacelia purshii

Flight Time: May to June

Life Cycle: Larva feed exposed on leaves of Miami Mist Phacelia in May. Overwinters as a pupa and adults emerge the following May. Larvae has black and gray head. Shield yellow with two large black spots on top. Next two segments completely black. Yellow stripe down middle with off-set black spots. Side grayish-black. A yellow waved stripe above feet. Tip of abdomen black. Front (thoracic) feet black; those on abdomen white.

Comments: Rare in Ontario. Essex County.

For information on synonyms, references and type specimens see next page

Depressaria depressana

Purple Carrot-seed Moth
Depressaria depressana

POHL: 42-0156
MONA: 0924.1
GenBank: 470869

Identification: Introduced from Europe in Ontario per Landry in 2008.
Head: Creamy white, including nose cone (palpi). Palpi curved past top of head. Tips pointed, sometimes brownish on older individuals.
Antenna: Brown.
Thorax: Entirely creamy white, very wide (covering wing base (tegulae)).
Wings: Brown to reddish-brown infused with gray and sometimes a few white scales. Fringe pale brownish. Hindwings pale gray yellowish-brown. Fringe yellowish-gray.
Legs: Brown, covered with cream scales. Thighs (femora) wide. Feet usually striped.
Abdomen: Shiny, pale ash gray.

Similar Species: Depressaria alienella  is similar, but has a small, obvious white dot at mid-wing, and dark streaks. Thorax is narrow. Fringe lighter than wings.

Size: 7 to 9 mm long. Wingspan 14 to 17 mm.

Habitat: Meadows, roadsides and field edges.

Food: Carrot Family Apiaceae. Mainly Queen Anne’s Lace Daucus carota, also coriander, dill, carrot, anise, fennel, caraway, cumin, celery, parsley and parsnip.

Flight Time: July to Oct.

Life Cycle: Adults over-winter. Larva grey, sometimes with whitish spots. Head and shield black. Legs black. Larvae prefer to feed on flowers and unripened seed of host plants.

Comments: Found throughout Ontario.

For information on synonyms, references and type specimens see next page