Sclerocona acutella

Phragmites Moth
Sclerocona acutella

POHL: 80-1410
MONA: 5298.1

Identification: Native to Europe and Asia and introduced to the U.S. east coast in 1984.

Head: Slightly paler than the yellowish-brown wings. Main ID: Long, projecting nose cone (palpi) twice the length of head.
Antenna: Yellowish-brown to slightly paler, slender, reaching to mid-wing.
Thorax: Yellowish-brown.
Wings: Wide, darker yellowish-brown; outer edges (costa) border white. Dense, long white fringe along lower outer margin. Hind wings slightly paler. Males have a small indented, oblong area at mid-wing, just inward from costal edge which may appear darker or lighter; absent on females.
Legs: Long and thin. Front legs more brownish. Mid and hind legs whitish. Spurs very short.
Abdomen: Pale yellowish-brown. Male tip longer with an acute point usually slightly protruding below wing tips, female tip is shorter, more rounded and usually hidden by wings.

Similar Species: The Streaked Orange Nascia acutella has a short, projecting nose cone (palpi) only as long as head. Wings are streaked with orange-brown. Lower margin of wings has short, pale fringe, not the bright white of Sclerocona acutella.

Size: 14 mm long.

Habitat: Wetlands, ditches.

Food: Larvae feed on the cattail-like Phragmites australis.

Flight Time: June in Ontario.

Life Cycle: One generation per year. Wagner (2003) reports one larva collected from the lower stem of Phragmites australis presumably over-wintering as larvae, and pupating in late spring.

Comments: The Annotated Checklist of the Moths and Butterflies (Lepidoptera) of Canada and Alaska, 2018 by Pohl et al. does not list Sclerocona acutella for Canada or Ontario.
Durham County – per photos by Beadle Jun 16, 2007.
Essex County – per photos by Lucier Jun 23, 2012.
Norfolk County – per photos be Beadle June 16, 2015.

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

Achroia grisella

Lesser Wax Moth
Achroia grisella

POHL: 80-0002
MONA: 5623

Identification: Introduced to California in mid-1800’s, the Lesser Wax moth has almost world-wide distribution.

Head: Very smooth, no tufts of hair; pale orange-yellow. Whiskers (palpi) very short; male palpi turn upward, female palpi extend straight out.
Antenna: Yellowish-brown to light brown; long, reaching to mid-wing. Base (scape) slightly thickened.
Thorax: Smooth and shiny. Light brown to silver-gray. Underside paler.
Wings: Wings wide but usually wrapped around body. Shiny light brown to silver-gray. Tips rounded with long fringe. Hindwings whitish-gray with long, gray fringe.
Legs: Slender, pale brownish-gray.
Abdomen: Pale brownish-gray.

Similar Species: Superficially resembles Crambid Snout Acentria ephemerella which has shiny white-gray wings more spread out at rest, a darker thorax and no orange on head.

Size: Female about 11 mm. Male about 7 to 8 mm.

Habitat: Beehives and storage areas of dried fruits.

Food: Adults – unknown. Larvae feed on wax honeycomb; dried fruits, including grapes (raisins) and apples. One report from the Netherlands of feeding on cork mat material used in insect collections.

Flight Time: June per photographs, but has 2 generations per year.

Life Cycle: Males use ultrasonic noise to attract females. Females lay eggs inside beehives or on dried fruit. Larvae create webs and feed from under the webs. Rarely attracted to lights.

Comments: Essex County – photos Jun 17, 2012. Not listed for Ontario (Pohl 2018).

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