Amydria effrentella

Tubeworm Moth
Amydria effrentella

POHL: 30-0046
MONA: 0334
GenBank: 700078

Head: Female yellowish-brown, male somewhat darker, both have entire head covered with flatted hairs, similar to Clothes Moths Tineidae. Small eyes. Nose cone (palpi) projecting; middle segment covered with long hair (bearded), brown on outside, lighter in the middle. Last segment almost bare, yellow, projecting up to top of head.
Antenna: Yellowish-brown, thick, many segments reaching to mid-wing.
Thorax: Dark brown, surrounded with yellowish-brown. No mane or spiked hair like other Tubeworms.
Wings: Long and narrow with rounded tips. Yellowish-brown mottled with dark brown. Inner marginal area more yellowish-brown. Outside (costal) margin dark at base, the rest checkered dark brown and yellowish, becoming progressively smaller around wing tip. Female has more yellowish, especially near wing tips. Fringe yellowish, much longer at anal angle.
Hind wings pale grayish-yellow, including fringe.
Legs: Yellowish-brown, covered with dark brown scales.
Abdomen: Much shorter than wings, smooth; yellowish-gray.

Size: 9 to 12 mm long. Wingspan 15 to 25 mm.

Habitat: Forests.

Food: Dried plant material.

Flight Time: June to July

Life Cycle: Unknown. One report found it to be a common inhabitant of the leafy nests of the mountain beaver. Adults attracted to lights.

Comments: Essex County – photos July 2011 & 2012. Forbes 1923 reported it from Parry Sound, Ontario. BOLD shows Georgian Bay area.

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

Acrolophus texanella

Tubeworm Moth
Acrolophus texanella

See photos at:

POHL: 30-0052 – 2 Pt. Pelee & Norfolk
GenBank: 1473600

Dark brown-black, eyes large, hairy. Nose cone (palpi) curved, long, reaching to end of thorax; dark brown-black, more brownish-yellow on inner sides; hair is longer and darker at tips. Female head usually lighter coloured with nose cone very short, hairy.
Antenna: Brownish-yellow. Main ID: Male antenna reaching to mid-wing; scales are wrapped entirely around each segment (unipectinate).
Thorax: Dark brown-black; hair almost erect from top of eye through to end of mane. Mane short.
Wings: Forewing brown mixed with grayish-yellow. No discal spot. Dark squarish patch at mid-wing, close to inner margin. Last 1/3 of wings darker, angled wider on outer (costal) edge. Sometimes with a white line before the dark diagonal patch.
Hind wings grayish-black. Fringe two-tone, base lighter.
Female can be same as male, or lighter brown to tan with dark dashes throughout, dark patch at wing end absent.
Legs: Male legs dark, female legs yellowish.
Abdomen: Dark gray.

Size: Small 9 to 12 mm long. Wingspan 18 to 24 mm.

Habitat: Unknown

Food: Unknown

Flight Time: June and July

Life Cycle: Unknown. Generally larvae created silk-lined tunnels below ground, feed on roots and plant leaves at night. Over-winters as a larvae, continues feeding in spring, and pupates in tunnel.

Comments: New Canadian record, known from two BOLD specimens from Pt. Pelee Jul 04-12 (ON), and from Norfolk Co. (ON) by KS, per Pohl (2018).

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

Acrolophus propinqua

Walsingham’s Grass Tubeworm Moth
Acrolophus propinqua

POHL: 30-0063
MONA: 0374
GenBank: None

Grayish, covered with purplish iridescent speckles. Nose cones (palpi) very long, curved over head and reaching past end of thorax; sides of cones grayish, central area an obvious bright brownish-yellow. Eyes have lashes (hair) on inner margin.
Antenna: Short, reaching to end of thorax. Brownish-yellow, thick segments somewhat knife-like (serrated) or laminated on underside.
Thorax: Purplish-gray, no mane.
Wings: Varied in size and colour.
Male: Much smaller than female, wings narrower; grayish, covered with purplish iridescent speckles. A slightly darker, but faint spot at mid wing (discal cell); and usually with some darker shading and a few whitish scales near wing tip (apical 1/3).
Female: Much larger than male, wings wider. Mid wing dark spot barely visible. Sometimes with a purple-white stripe down inner wing margins, speckled with dark and with a dark patch along inner whitish border at mid-wing.
Hind wings gray-brown, fringe slightly paler.
Legs: Grayish-yellow, covered, more or less with dark scales.
Abdomen: Grayish-purple.

Size: Female 12 to 17 mm long. Wingspan 20 to 34 mm.
Male 9 to 12 mm. Wingspan 18 to 26 mm.

Habitat: Forest edges and meadows; cultivated fields.

Food: Grasses

Flight Time: Mid-June to end of July

Life Cycle: Typically Tubeworm larvae bury into the soil, creating silken tubes. They feed on grass thatch at the base of the plant or their roots. Pupate in their tube.

Comments: Not listed for Canada or Ontario. In Wheatley June 15 to July 30 in 2011 to 2013.

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

Acrolophus popeanella

Streaked Tubeworm Moth
Acrolophus popeanella

POHL: 30-0060
MONA: 00373
GenBank: 691622

Grayish to blackish-brown. Nose cone (palpi) hairy, blackish-brown on side edges, central part and tips light yellowish-brown to creamy yellow. Male nose cone curving over head and reaching to end of thorax. Female head light yellowish-brown and hairy nose cone short, directed outward, yellowish-brown.
Antenna: Yellowish-brown, reaching just past end of thorax. Male segments stout, knife-like (serrated) on underside.
Thorax: Medium-sized mane, dull dark brownish to brownish-gray, tipped with grayish-white on all edges. Female has no mane; thorax light brown to cream-colored with only a few darker spiked hairs.
Wings: Variable. Reddish-brown, but usually brown to dark brown. Main ID: Bright yellow to pale yellow streak from wing base, diagonally to inner margin just before wing tip. Streak is broken near inner margin end by a black spot or triangle. (Note: This black spot can become small with age, but it is always present on both male and female.) Often, parts of the yellow streak are outlined with dark brown which fades with age. Dark spot at 2/3 wing length (discal cell) with a short streak of yellow before and after the spot, often faded on both older males and females. Fringe mixed light and dark brown.
Variations: Very dark males often have white veins on last half of wing. Older males turn various colours of light brown to almost entirely pale yellowish. Females when fresh have the same markings as males. Older females become almost speckled, usually the yellow diagonal streak is still visible, but faded.
Hindwings grayish.
Legs: Light brown to tannish, with dark scales, especially on shins. Feet (tarsi) have each segment dark with tips light.
Abdomen: Grayish-black, much shorter than wings.

Similar Species: Aged females are similar to Acrolophus propinqua females, but have only a few dark spiked hairs on thorax. A. propinqua has fairly thick reddish-brown spiked thorax.

Size: 11 to 14 mm. long. Wingspan 24 to 30 mm.

Habitat: Meadows, forest edges.

Food: Clover roots – both white and red reported.

Flight Time: Mid-June to July in s. w. Ontario.

Life Cycle: Larvae tunnel into soil around clover roots. Tunnels are silk-lined. Over-winter as larvae and continue feeding the next spring. Pupate in tunnels in late spring.
Larvae about 17 mm long. Dark brownish-purple with raised spots. Head black, bordered with a brown line. Abdomen tip lighter colored.  Legs brown-black, long.

Comments: “New for Canada based on 1 record by KS” per Pohl et al. (2018). Assumed KS is Ken Stead in Lambton County, no date. Recorded in Wheatley 2011 to 2014, and Point Pelee National Park in 2018. Acrolophus popeanella is the most frequent Tubeworm at the moth light in Wheatley.

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

Acrolophus plumifrontella

Eastern Grass Tubeworm
Acrolophus plumifrontella

For photos see:

POHL: 30-0058 Possible
MONA: 0372
GenBank: None

Head: Light brownish-red. Nose cone (palpi) long, hairy, reddish-brown to brown, reaching almost to end of thorax. Female nose cone very long, straight out, pointed, slightly hairy.
Antenna: Yellowish-brown, reaching almost to mid-wing. Female antenna thin, male thicker, serrated only near tips.
Thorax: Thick, mane-like, light brown with some reddish-brown mixed in.
Wings: Male: Very wide (6 to 7 mm), short with more squarish tip. Deep reddish-brown with dark brown dusting. Outer (costal) margin usually quite red, even when old. Inner margin has wide area of lighter reddish-brown with 2 dark spots. Another dark spot at 2/3 wing length (discal cell), sometimes absent. Fringe brown. Hindwing grayish-brown.
Female forewing lighter, mixed with grayish-brown. Net-like (reticulated) dark lines throughout, dark spots similar to male. Fringe concolorous or slightly checkered darker.
Legs: Light brown, dusted with white, except tufts on shins (tibiae) thick and dark reddish-brown to brown.
Abdomen: Dark, striped lighter.

Size: 12 to 16 mm long. Wingspan 25 to 34 mm.

Habitat: Meadows, forest edges.

Food: Clover roots.

Flight Time: Mid-June to July  

Life Cycle: Unknown. 

Comments: Not recorded in Ontario, but may expand range from Ohio. 

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

Acrolophus morus (mora)

Dark Tubeworm Moth
Acrolophus morus

For photos see:

POHL: 30-0081
MONA: 0367
GenBank: 700077

Identification: Fall flying.
Head: Brown. Eyes have no lashes on inner margin. Nose cone (palpi) slightly hairy, curved, lighter brown to yellowish; barely reach base of thorax.  Female nose cone very short, not noticeable.
Antenna: Pale yellowish-brown, reaching to mid-wing. Male antenna scaled on all sides (laminate), like Acrolophus texanella. Female antenna very thin.
Thorax: Brownish-gray. Hairs spiked; hairs on thorax sides brushed up to center.
Wings: Fore wings very long and more pointed than all other Acrolophus. Inner margin has wide yellowish-brown area, with a dark triangle at mid-wing close to inner margin. Rest of wing can be same color, darker, or almost black. Sometimes a small line at 2/3 wing length (discal cell). Dark spots around wing tip, similar to female Acrolophus arcanella). Fringe dark brown. Hind wings brownish-black.
Female similar to male, or cream colored along inner margin and light brown speckled for rest of the wing.
Legs: Can be light or dark brown, almost black. More feathery hair then other Acrolophus. Male legs usually darker.
Abdomen: Light or dark brown.

Size: Wingspan 30 mm. Some quite small 18 mm to 24 mm wingspan.

Habitat: Deciduous & conifer forests with Birch.

Food: Birch – one report from 1905.

Flight Time: Mid-September to October

Life Cycle: Apparently a day-flyer (late afternoon). Eggs laid on Birch bark from 1 report in 1905. The egg is long, narrow, and strongly ridged.

Comments: Norfolk County Sept. 22, 2016 by Beadle. Lambton County in 2007 was 1st record. Also Dundas County. Rare, more northern species.

Synonyms: Grote 1882
Eutheca mora, Sapinella mora, Pseudanaphora mora, Acrolophus mora.

Bulletin of the United States Geological and Geographical Survey of the Territories 1882 by Grote, pp. 257 to 258 as Eutheca mora.
A Synonymic Catalogue of Lepidoptera Heterocera, 1892, Vol. 1 by Kirby, pg. 534 Sapinella genus.
Transactions of the American Entomological Society, 1893, Vol. 20 by Smith, pg. 10 Sapinella.
The Canadian Entomologist, 1895, Vol. 27 by Dyar, pg. 15 as Pseudanaphora mora.
Cornell University Agriculture Experimental Station, 1923, Memoir 68 by Forbes, pg. 121 as Acrolophus morus.
Proceedings of the United States National Museum, 1964, Vol. 114 by Hasbrouck, pp. 632 to 636 as Acrolophus morus.
Journal of the New York Entomological Society, 1967, Vol. 75 by Klots, pg. 18 – day flying.
Northeastern Naturalist, 1997, Vol. 4 #1: The Moth Acrolophus morus in Maine by Russo & Roberts, pp. 45 to 46.
Ohio State University Research Bulletin, 2001 #1192: Lepidoptera of Wayne County, Ohio by Rings and Downer, pg. 21. Larval food and fly dates.

Holotype as Eutheca mora female by Grote, 1882. Type Locality: New York. In the British Museum of Natural History, London, England.

Acrolophus arcanella

Grass Tubeworm Moth
Acrolophus arcanella

POHL: 30-0080 Not listed for Canada or Ontario
MONA: 0340
GenBank: 1178030

Identification: Colour fades quickly in older individuals to dark yellowish-brown.
Head: Thick dark brown to blackish hair covers face. Eyes small, hairy (lashes) on inner eye margin. Main ID: Nose cone (palpi) on male hairy, dark brown with some brownish-yellow on inner sides; very short, projecting straight up to just above head, tips somewhat pointed. Female nose cone light brown, extremely short, projecting outward, barely visible.
Antenna: Pale yellowish-brown, reaching just past end of thorax.
Thorax: Long thick, mane-like; dark brown to blackish, often with some brownish-yellow at side edges. Female thorax more golden brown with reduced black.
Wings: Background brown-black mixed with grayish-brown. Inner margin yellowish with two yellowish triangles and with a dark triangle before and between the yellowish triangles. Female background lighter brown, inner margin tan. Fringe wide checkered dark and light.
Hind wings dark brown, tinged with black.
Legs: Dark brown, hairy, fading to yellowish-brown when older. Feet striped brown and cream. Female front leg sometimes more yellowish-brown.

Size: 12 to 16 mm long. Wingspan 28 to 32 mm.

Habitat: Dry, sandy meadows and dry forest edges.

Food: Roots and leaves of grasses. Other old reports of feeding on crop roots and young leaves of corn, wheat and clover pertained only to the 1st year of a new field on virgin soil.

Flight Time: June 28 to July 20 in s. w. Ontario.

Life Cycle: Females lay eggs (probably on soil) in July. Larvae, sometimes gregarious, form silk-lined tunnels deep in soil and feed on grass roots, or surface at night to feed on leaves. Over-winters in tunnel, pupating in late spring after feeding on young leaves.
Larvae about 22 mm. long. Velvet gray with white, shiny areas on thorax with V-shaped marks. Shield and 1st thorax segment black. Head has Y-shaped mark and a crescent groove. Antenna long, retractable. Dark legs, crochets in a circle. Adults apparently are late day-flying and also come to lights at night (mostly males).

Comments: Not listed in The Annotated Checklist of the Moths and Butterflies (Lepidoptera) of Canada and Alaska, 2018 by Pohl et al. for Canada or Ontario.
In Wheatley from late June to late July, 2011 to 2015. A. arcanella was the 2nd most common Tubeworm at the moth light.

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

Quick ID Burrowing Webworm or Tubeworm Moths

Quick ID
Burrowing Webworm or Tubeworm Moths Acrolophinae

Tubeworm moths of Acrolophus are remarkable for their hairy nose cones (palpi) Males often have very long palpi thrown over their heads like elephant trunks. Females have hairy, shorter nose cones that project outward from the head, not curved. Females are seldom seen.

Four have a lion mane-like thoraxes. The other two have thin, erect hair (spiked). Antennae are bright yellowish-brown. Length 9 to 16 mm. All except one fly from mid-June to the end of July.


Very little is known of their life cycle. Most larvae feed on roots and leaves of grasses and clover, building silk-lined tubes in tunnels underground and appearing at night to feed. They over-winter in larvae stage, continue feeding in spring and pupate inside their silk-lined tunnels to emerge as adults in summer. Ontario has 6 species of Acrolophus (2 of them new) and one that could possibly expand it’s range from Ohio into Ontario. One other one, Amydria effrentella is common in Ontario.

Acrolophus arcanella New
Acrolophus morus (mora)
Acrolophus plumifrontella Possible
Acrolophus popeanella
Acrolophus propinqua New
Acrolophus texanella
Amydria effrentella

All Acrolophus species fade quickly. New, freshly emerged species with large manes often have a line or two of iridescent white dashes, a scattering of iridescent white spots, or both.

Explanation of the term ‘triangle pattern’. Inner margin yellowish to white with two yellowish/white triangles and with a dark triangle before and between the yellowish triangles.

Quick ID Acrolophus males

Lion mane thorax:
Acrolophus arcanella – the only one with short, hairy nose cones (palpi), pointed; extend only to top of head, not curved. Triangle pattern. Dark brown-black, fading to light brown. New for Ontario.

Acrolophus popeanella – cream to yellowish diagonal stripe from wing base to inner margin. No triangle pattern. Dark brown or reddish-brown fading to almost entirely yellow. This is the most common species in s. w. Ontario and also has the most extreme colour changes.

Acrolophus plumifrontella – mostly brick red, usually maintains red along outer (costal) margin when old. Overall it appears shorter (smaller) because wings are very wide (6 to 7 mm) and wing tip is straight or squared. In Ohio and expected in Ontario. (No photos).

Acrolophus texanella – dark slanted patch near hind margin close to inner margin, usually with a white slanted line before patch. Long, thickly scaled antenna to mid-wing. Faint triangle pattern. Dark brown fading to light brown.  A smaller species with two found at Point Pelee National Park in 2012, and one in Norfolk (not date). No photos.

Hair spiked thorax:
Acrolophus morus (mora) – Variable. Large with pointed wings. Triangle pattern. Palpi short, reaching to base of thorax. Antenna long, to mid-wing. Legs hairy. Best ID’d by fly date of September to October, long after all other Acrolophus in Ontario. A more northern, rare species; not in s. w. Ontario. (No photos).

Acrolophus propinqua – Entirely brownish-gray with purplish iridescent sparkles; no pattern. Wedge shaped; narrow wing base and wide wing tips. Palpi long, darker on fresh individuals, fading to entirely bright orange-yellow on older individuals. New for Ontario.