Zeller’s Ethmia Moth
Head: White with a black spot at back of head, as all Ethmia. Nose cone (palpi) curves past top of head. 2nd segment is black with a white tip. Last segment is white, sometimes with a fleck or two of black scales.
Antenna: Long, reaching almost to wing tip. Base (scape) white with black tip. Antenna segments grayish, sometimes with white on first few segments.
Thorax: White with 4 to 6 spots along outer border.
Wings: White. Inner half of wings with large black spots. Outer half of wings with black streaks and some black scale shading along outer (costal) margin – can be difficult to see. Wing tip has a series of 8 to 9 black spots. Fringe white. Hindwings white, slightly more brownish near tip. Fringe white.
Legs: Main ID: Fairly bright, straw yellow with black stripes on front and middle feet.
Abdomen: Straw yellow. Male has tuft at tip.
Similar Species: Four Ethmia in Ontario:
Ethmia bipunctella has wings longitudinally entirely white on inner half i.e. down the back with wings closed; outer half entirely black.
Ethmia monticola has wings longitudinally entirely white on inner half, with a thin black line along inner border. Outer half white with black streaks and spots. Black lines in a fan shaped contour before wing tip.
Ethmia longimaculella is almost identical to Ethmia zelleriella, but has less streaks, no dark scaling on outer (costal) edge which is difficult to see and legs are white, not yellow. Feet white striped with black.
Ermine Moths Yponomeuta are white with black spots also. They have no streaks, only spots.
Size: 10 to 11 mm long.
Habitat: Forest edges and meadows.
Food: Miami Mist Phacelia purshii
Flight Time: May to June
Life Cycle: Larva feed exposed on leaves of Miami Mist Phacelia in May. Overwinters as a pupa and adults emerge the following May. Larvae has black and gray head. Shield yellow with two large black spots on top. Next two segments completely black. Yellow stripe down middle with off-set black spots. Side grayish-black. A yellow waved stripe above feet. Tip of abdomen black. Front (thoracic) feet black; those on abdomen white.
Comments: Rare in Ontario. Essex County.
For information on synonyms, references and type specimens see next page