Head: Dark reddish-yellow, face yellowish-silver. Nose cone (palpi) long, curved up to head, light yellowish, darker on underside. 2nd segment wider in middle; last segment yellowish with dark spot before tips.
Antenna: Dark brownish-black.
Thorax: Dark reddish-yellow, but not as reddish as head; covered with brown and black speckles (scales); tip black.
Wings: Unmistakable rough, raised hair-like scales over wings (may be absent on over-wintered moths). Forewings light yellowish-brown, with patchy, mottled black and dark brown rough, raised scales. Base more whitish-yellow, outer border lined with brown. Large, rounded spot at 2/3 wing length (discal cell), covers from outer margin to center of wing. No white scales. Series of uneven dark dots and marks along costa and wing tip. Fringe yellowish-brown. Hindwing yellowish-brown, base and fringe lighter.
Legs: Brownish-yellow, with black streaks and rings.
Abdomen: Light yellowish-brown, underside has two longitudinal rows of black dots.
Similar Species: The other Hoptree Agonopterix costimacula is grayish-brown and has a white spot at 2/3 wing length (discal spot) with a distinct black ring around the white; smooth scaled without any raised scales.
Size: 10 to 12 mm long. Wingspan 20-22 mm.
Habitat: Forest edges with sandy soils, lake shores.
Food: Hoptree Ptelea trifoliata.
Flight Time: Late May to early September.
Life Cycle: Larvae of A. pteleae and A. costimacula both feed on Hoptree Ptelea trifoliata. Both are pale green with no black markings or pinacula (dark spots bearing hair) on the body, but may have a blackish mark on side of head (absent to prominent). The border around the spiracles of A. pteleae are brown. The border around the spiracles of A. costimacula are black. Both species over-winter as adults, with at least two generations or more per year.
Comments: Considered a pest at Point Pelee with outbreaks of “tens of thousands” every 5 years – 2005, 2010, 2015, per Harris at Pt. Pelee. Many wasps and ants are attracted to their honeydew.
For information on synonyms, references and type specimens see next page