Elophila tinealis

Black Duckweed Moth
Elophila tinealis


DNA problems between BOLD and GenBank (see Comments section below). I do not have Munroe’s original description from 1972. The description is from my observations, and ID is tentative.

POHL: 80-0728
MONA: 4754
GenBank: 691574

Head: Black. Nose cone (palpi) black, short, projects and curves slightly upward.
Antenna: Black, short, reaching middle of thorax.
Thorax: Black with varying amounts of silvery scales.
Wings: Black with varying amounts of silvery scales. Silvery-white blotch usually present at mid-wing, but not always. Wing tip border has row of uneven white dots and/or dashes. Fringe two-tone, gray with darker tips. Female wings are longer, extending well past abdomen tip; male wings just past abdomen tip. Hindwings brown-black, fringe twice as long.
Legs: Black with varying amounts of silvery-white pile.
Abdomen: Black, lower margin of segments may or may not have light brown to whitish lines. Female abdomen wider than male.

Size: 4 to 6  mm long. Wingspan 10 mm.

Habitat: Marshes, ponds, still waters.

Food: Duckweeds Lemna and Spirodela

Flight Time: June to early August

Life Cycle: Mating occurs within 24 hours after emerging. Females lay eggs within an hour after mating, laying eggs singly to 10 at a time on the lower surface of Duckweed. Eggs hatch within a week. Larvae stay on underside of leaf and construct a case. Live and pupate in the case. Life cycle complete in 24 days. Adults lived only 4 to 5 days in lab.
Larvae 8 to 9 mm long, white to brownish-yellow; back of head black. Shield has semi-circle of brown spots.

Comments: Central and southern Ontario.
DNA: All samples submitted to GenBank from Point Pelee were ‘suppressed’.
All samples from Thousand Islands National Park and 8 of 11 from rare Charitable Reserve near Cambridge have a GenBank reference number, but clicking the link to GenBank returns a ‘Not found’ error.
The DNA of 3 samples has been accepted by GenBank from rare Charitable Reserve, plus 1 from Pt. Franks, Lambton County, and 2 from Wellington County. No photos on BOLD of the accepted samples from Charitable Reserve. The photo from Pt. Franks look different, wings narrower and lacking the white dot-dash line around wing tip; center white spot is very sharp and well-defined, unlike other tentative E. tinealis. Photos of the 2 from Wellington County are too poor for analysis.

Synonyms: Munroe 1972
Synclita tinealis

The Moths of American North of Mexico, 1972, Fascicle #13 Pyraloidea by Munroe: Synclita tinealis Not available.
Journal of the Lepidopterists’ Society, 1981, Vol. 35 #2: Description of the immature states Synclita tinealis by Kinser & Neunzig, pp. 137 to 146.
Peterson Field Guide to Moths of N. E North America, 2012 by Beadle & Leckie, pg. 156.
Insecta Mundi, 2013, #0296: Sufetula in Florida by Hayden, pg. 6.

Types: Unknown.