Ponometia erastrioides

Small Bird-dropping Moth
Ponometia erastrioides

POHL: 93-1319
MONA: 9095
GenBank: 214371

Identification: Also called Small Bird-lime Moth.
Head: Head and nose cone (palpi) brown, back of head white.
Antenna: Light brownish-yellow; segments reach past mid-wing.
Thorax: White.
Wings: White with an irregular black, somewhat triangular patch which does not reach outer (costal) margin, or tip of wing. Outer margin has about 5 greyish marks. A tiny dark dot near wing base. Wing tip has dark dashes along border. Fringe white, slightly yellowish at tips, and sometimes with scattered patches of gray. Hindwing grayish to yellowish-white, faint line at margin; fringe white.
Legs: Brown, covered with white scale. Feet striped.
Abdomen: Creamy to brownish-white. Male tuft yellowish.

Similar Species: Olive-shaded Bird-dropping Moth Ponometia candefacta has large brown spot (reniform), surrounded with white on lower wing, and a large, brown diagonal stripe reaching wing tip at outer (costal) edge.  P. erastrioides has outer wing margin entirely white, except for the faint gray marks.

Size: 8 to 10 mm long. Wingspan 16 to 20 mm.

Habitat: Field edges, meadows, open areas.

Food: Adults nectar on a variety of flowers. Larvae feed on Ragweed Ambrosia and Burdock Arctium.

Flight Time: May to August.

Life Cycle: Three generations per year. Larvae is a looper, light brown and black; head, thorax and feed black. Feeds with P. candefacta. Feints death or vomits a green fluid if disturbed. Over-winters as a pupa, no cocoon. Adults day-flying and attracted to lights at night.

Comments: Widespread in Ontario. Common in Essex County, listed for Point Pelee.

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