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