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.