Pondside Pyralid Moth
Head: White. Palpi short, white; slightly scaled on underside; curved upward, barely reaching to top of head.
Antenna: Pale yellow, reaching to about mid wing.
Thorax: Variable, mostly white with small brownish-yellow marks or a stripe across lower thorax.
Wings: Light brownish-yellow with white spots and dark streaks, the white areas outlined, at least on one side with dark brown lines. A white circle at mid wing touching inner margin, surrounded with dark brown. Fringe unevenly checkered with dark brown and white.
Hindwing similar, white bar at center, bordered with dark brown on both sides. Fringe same as forewing.
Legs: Very pale yellow with shiny white scales.
Abdomen: Yellowish-white, striped with brownish-yellow. Tip can be light or dark. Male tip has some hairs, but not a noticeable tuft.
Similar Species: Nymphula Moth Elophila ekthlipsis has much brighter and larger white spots with a darker brownish-yellow background on wings.
Size: 8 to 15 mm long. Wingspan 16 to 26 mm.
Habitat: Ponds, marshes, swamps, bogs.
Food: Aquatic: Floating Pondweed Potamogeton natans is preferred. Also Buckbean Menyanthes, Duckweed Lemna species, Eelgrass Vallisneria and Sedges Cyperaceae that grow in water.
Flight Time: June to end of August
Life Cycle: Females lay curved rows of whitish eggs (20 to 70) on the underside edge of Pondweed leaves. They do not lay on lilies. Eggs hatch in about 10 days. 1st instar larvae create a moveable case made of 2 pieces of leaf; larvae remain on the underside of the leaf. Larvae are translucent whitish to grayish with a dark head and shield. New cases are made as larvae grow, and pupation takes place inside a case lined with silk and attached to a submerged stem. Adults attracted to lights, also day-flying.
Comments: Common. Essex County – Point Pelee and Ojibway. Kent County – Rondeau Provincial Park.
For information on synonyms, references and type specimens see next page