Charles Henry Fernald.

The pterophoridae of North America online

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to the position of the families, but also with regard to the names.
I am heartily in sympathy with this movement, and, if I do not
always adopt the changes at once, it is because I have not had time
to study them carefully and convince myself that they are right.

The genus Chrysocorys has been placed among the Pterophoridae
by several of the English entomologists, and Zeller established the
genus Scoptonoma for two Texan species, placing it in this family ;


but this genus is identical with Lineodes Gnen., which both he
and Lederer very properly placed among the Pyralids. If these
two genera be removed, we have rather a compact group, which
may be placed in the vicinity of the Pyralids, in my opinion.


Long, slim insects, with long legs. Fore wings usually with
one fissure and hind wings with two. The North American
species, so far as known, have fissured wings. Proboscis and
labial palpi well developed. Maxillary palpi and ocelli absent.
Fore wings with vein Ib either simple or with a short fork at the
base; Ic present, 4 and 5 remote at the base, 8 and 9 stalked or
fused. Hind wings above without a row of hairs along the basal
part of the median vein; la usually absent, 4 and 5 remote at the
base, 6 and 7 remote, 7 and 8 approach very near each other near
the middle of the wing.


e Hind wings with a cluster of black scales in the fringe of the
1 : third feather, . . . . .... . . 2.

i Hind wings without a cluster of black scales in the fringe of
^ the third feather, . . ;- ... . . . 4.

t Anal angle present in second lobe of fore wings, ... 3.
( Anal angle absent in second lobe of fore wings, . Trichoptilus.
Anal angle absent in first lobe of fore wings, . . Oxyptilus.
Anal angle present in first lobe of fore wings, . Platyptilia.
^ Feathers of hind wings similar and tapering uniformly, Alucita.
\ Feathers of hind wings unlike in form, . ... . 5.

c Anal angle present on first lobe of fore wings, . Stenoptilia.
) Anal angle absent on first lobe of fore wings, . . Pterophorus.

GENUS TRICHOPTILUS Wlsm., Pter. Cal. and Ore. (1880).

Front neither extended nor tufted, vertex smooth. Antennae
pubescent; palpi slightly ascending; second and third segments
nearly equal in length, the former a little thickened with scales,
especially towards the outer end, the latter filiform. Tibiae
thickened with scales at the origin of the spurs. Fissure of the
fore wings extending in a little more than half their length, the
lobes being very slender, diverging, and without the anal angle on
either. Hind wings with the fissure between the first and second
feathers reaching within one-fourth of their base, while the second
fissure reaches nearly to the base of the wing. All the feathers


are very slender, almost filiform, and there is a cluster of black
scales in the fringe near the middle of the hind margin of the
third feather.

This genus was established by Lord Walsingham on a single
species, pygmceus, of which his lordship took three specimens near
Milville, in Shasta County, California, on the llth of July, 1871,
one of which with his characteristic generosity he gave me. As
this single co-type is all I have, I do not feel like injuring it to
study the venation or genitalia. Mr. Meyrick, in his "Hand-
book of British Lepidoptera," has given the venation of the fore
wings probably of T. paludum Z. as follows : 2 out of 4 or absent,
3 absent, 7 and 9 absent, 10 from near 8 or absent, 11 from near 8.

Hofmann gives a description of the male genitalia and a figure
of a paramere of T. paludum. He states that the genitalia of the
male are distinguished by the remarkable form of the claspers,
which are long and narrow, hollow within, and with a broad, bell-
shaped, bristly appendage. The tenth dorsal plate is obtusely
triangular, arched and bent down at the end. The ninth dorsal
and ventral plates offer nothing especially worthy of remark.


Expanse of wings, 10 mm. or less, . . pygmceus.

Expanse of wings, 17 mm., .... ochrodactylus.

Expanse of wings, 20 mm., . . . . lobidactylus.


Trichoptilus pygmceus Wlsm., Pter. Cal. and Ore., p. 64,
Plate III., fig. 15 (1880).

Expanse of wings, 10 mm. Head and thorax pale fawn color;
antennae slightly pubescent, marked above with fawn brown and
white alternately; palpi whitish touched with fawn color. Ab-
domen whitish, with a tinge of fawn color on the sides and above
posteriorly. Legs white, dotted and barred above with fawn
brown ; spurs white, and at their origin the legs are thickened
with fawn brown scales, among which project some which are
white and almost erect. Fore wings very pale fawn color, dusted
with fuscous brown scales along the costa, especially above the
base of the fissure and near the base of the hind margin. Two
indistinct white stripes cross the lobes of the fore wings, one
beyond and the other before the middle^ cutting the fawn-colored
fringes on each side. Hind wings pale grayish brown, with


cinereous fringes interrupted with white behind and at the apex.
The third feather has long cinereous fringes interrupted with white
at the apex, and there is a cluster of dark scales slightly beyond
the middle in the fringe of the hind margin.

Habitat. Shasta County, California. Early stages and food
plant unknown.

Trichoptilus ochrodactylus Fish, Can. Ent., Vol. XHL, p. 142 (1881).

Expanse of wings, 17 mm. Head and anterior part of the
thorax pale ochreous. Antennae with a longitudinal brown line
above, bordered by a fine white line on each side, pale ochreous
beneath. Posterior part of thorax and abdomen light cream color,
the latter nearly pure white beneath. Legs white, striped longi-
tudinally with pale brownish ochreous ; posterior tibiae with a
band of raised ochreous scales before each pair of spurs. Fore
wings pale ochreous, approaching to cream color, with a very light
brownish tinge on the first lobe. A minute brown spot at the
base of the first lobe reaches from the end of the fissure half way
to the costa. Costal fringe of the first lobe brownish ochreous,
with a longitudinal white spot at the basal third, another at the
outer third and a smaller one just before the apex. Fringe of the
fissure ochreous and tinged with brown just beyond the middle,
and there are some white hairs near the apices. Fringe of hind
margin pale ochreous, with a white patch near the middle of the
second lobe, beyond which the fringe is rather dark brownish,
with a streaklet of white near the apex. Hind wings pale brown,
with the fringes slightly paler. The third feather has a cluster of
dark-brown scales in the hind fringe, just beyond the middle, and
a row of club-shaped white scales extends from this to the base
of the wing.

Habitat. Texas. Early stages and food plant unknown.


Pterophorus lobidactylus Fitch, N. Y. Rep., Vol. I., p. 848 (1854).
Aciptilus californicus Wlsm., Pter. Cal, and Ore., p. 60, PI. II.,
fig. 9 (1880).

Expanse of wings, 17-20 mm. Head grayish brown, with a
white line over each eye ; palpi whitish, touched with brown on the
outside of the second segment, with a long, slim tuft at the outer
end beneath, of nearly the same size and length as the slim outer


segment, which is dark brown, as is also the tuft at the end of the
second segment. Antennae grayish beneath, blackish above and
dotted with white. Thorax brown, much lighter posteriorly.
Abdomen dark brown, with diverging white lines on some of the
segments. Legs striped with dark brown and white, with a tuft
of dark scales at each pair of spurs ; tarsal segments white at the
base and brown at the outer end.

Fore wings with the fissure extending in one-half of the length
of the wing, dark cinnamon brown'. An oblique stripe of pale
yellow or white crosses the basal third of the first lobe, cutting the
brown fringe on each side of the lobe. Traces of this stripe are
sometimes seen on the second lobe, especially in the fringe on the
hind margin. There are also indications of a second stripe on
the outer third of the lobes, as shown by a few light scales and
the white in the fringes, which are dark elsewhere except on the
apical end of the costa. Hind wings and fringes dark brown,
with a cluster of black scales in the hind fringe a little beyond the
middle, preceded by white, and the fringe at the apex is also

I have carefully compared four examples of californicus, given
me by Lord Walsingham, with seven eastern examples of lobidac-
tylus Fitch, and can see no difference except in the ground color,
which is considerably lighter in the former ; but, as the geuitalia
are absolutely alike in both, I must consider californicus only as a
variety. Lord Walsingham doubtfully referred this species to the
genus Aciptilus, but it seems to me to agree better with the char-
acters of Triclioptilus.

Habitat. Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Colorado,
California. Food, Solidago canadensis.

I have been informed by Mr. Fish that Mr. N. Coleman of Ber-
lin, Conn., has bred this insect from this plant.

GENUS OXYPTILUS Zeller, Isis, Vol. X., p. 765 (1841).

Fron.t smooth, without projection ; labial palpi longer than the
head, ascending, the second segment with appressecl or projecting
scales beneath, sometimes forming a short tuft at the apex, ter-
minal segment filiform. Legs long and slim, the anterior and
middle tibiae thickened with scales at the middle and end. Fore
wings fissured nearly to the middle, the first lobe narrow, curved
somewhat at the end and terminating in a point without a defined
anal angle. Second lobe with the apex somewhat produced, and


with a more or less prominent anal angle. Feathers of the hind
wing narrow and pointed, linear and without anal angles. Vein 2
arises from the median vein, a little before the outer end of the
cell, while 3 and 4 arise from a short stalk, 9 and 10 arise one
after the other from 8, and 11 arises near 8 from the upper angle
of the cell. In the hind wing the costal vein terminates near the
outer third of the costa ; the continuation of the subcostal runs
through the middle of the first feather and ends in the apex. The
median vein has three branches the third of which ends in the apex
of the second feather. The third feather with a single strong
vein through the middle, terminating in the apex. This feather
has a cluster of dark scales in the hind fringe beyond the middle.
The characters of the male genitalia are represented in Plate VI.,
figs. 1-8.


General color tawny yellow, .... periscelidactylus.

General color light reddish brown, . . delawaricus.

General color dull grayish brown, . . ningoris.

General color dark brown, .... tenuidactylus.


Pterophorus periscelidactylus Fitch, N. Y. Rep., Vol. I., p. 843 (1854).
Pterophorus periscelidactylus Riley, Mo. Rep., Vol. I., p. 137 (1869).
Pterophorus periscelidactylus Riley, Am. Ent., Vol. II., p. 234 (1870).
Oxyptilus periscelidactylus Zell., Ent. Zeit, Vol. XXXII., p. 178


Pterophorus periscelidactylus Pack., Guide, p. 356 (1872).
Oxyptilus periscelidactylus Zell., Beitr., Part 2, p. 119 (1873).
Pterophorus periscelidactylus Saund., Can. Ent., Vol. V., p. 99 (1873).
Oxyptilus periscelidactylus Wlsm., Pter. Cal. and Ore., p. 25,

PI. II., fig. 5 (1880).

Oxyptilus periscelidactylus Saund., Ins. Inj. Veg., p. 268 (1889).
Oxyptilus periscelidactylus Comst, Manual, p. 238 (1895).
Oxyptilus periscelidactylus Smith, Econ. Ent , p. 318 (1896).

Expanse of wings, 14 to 29 mm. Head, thorax and fore wings
tawny yellow. Palpi slim, porrect or ascending, reaching as high
as the top of the head, white touched on the outside of second and
third segments with tawny yellow. Antennae dark brown beneath,
white above and dotted with white along each side. Posterior
part of the thorax marked in some specimens with white on the
top of the tegulae, the sides and two longitudinal stripes on the top
of the metathorax. Abdomen tawny yellow, marked more or less
imperfectly with a white stripe along each side and also on each


side of the dorsal stripe, except on the third segment, which is
entirely dark tawny brown. Underside white, striped with tawny
brown. Fore legs white, with longitudinal brown lines on the
femora and tibise ; middle and hind femora white, striped with
tawny ; middle tibise tawny on the outside, also a tuft of scales
on the middle and at the end tawny ; hind tarsi tawny at the mid-
dle and end, and all the tarsi are marked more or less with this
color at the end of the segments.

Fore wings fissured nearly to the middle, tawny yellow, with
two oblique white stripes crossing the lobes, dividing them into
nearly equal parts, the space between these stripes often rusty
brown, a transverse white spot just within the end of the fissure
is edged on its inner side with rusty brown, the posterior end often
extending outward and fusing with the first cross line. There is
usually a very oblique white spot on the cell near the middle of
the wing, with a dark dot at the basal end of it, and a second
white spot rests on the hind margin at the basal fourth of the
wing. The fringes of the two lobes are whitish, cut by blackish
at the apex and anal angle, this latter on the second lobe extend-
ing along nearly half the hind border. Hind wings rusty brown,
the third feather white in the middle and dark brown at the end,
with large dark scales in the fringes on both sides of this part of
the feather.

Thirty-five specimens examined.

Habitat. Maine to Missouri, Ontario, Quebec, Texas. Food,
leaves of the grape vine.

Larva. Length, about 12 mm. Head yellow, with the mouth
parts brown. Body pale greenish yellow, deeply constricted
between the segments. Each segment has a transverse row of ten
moderately sized tubercles, from each of which arises a cluster of
from six to twelve long, whitish, diverging hairs, besides which,
scattered over the surface, are short hairs which are enlarged at
the tip. Legs yellow, long and slender.

Pupa. Length, 11 mm. Diameter, 2 mm. Front obliquely
truncated, with two irregular ridges extending up over the truncate
part and along the dorsum on either side of the median line,
diverging towards the metathorax, where they terminate in a pair
of flattened, sharp-pointed projections, about as high as two-thirds
of the diameter of the pupa. The ridges are higher, and toothed
on the top of each segment. On the first five abdominal segments
there is a row of short spines on each side, in line with the
abdominal projections. These spines incline forward, and on the


posterior side is a small tooth and two short diverging club-shaped
bristles. The pupae attach themselves by a cluster of fine hooks
at the end of the abdomen to a button of silk spun by the cater-
pillar before pupating. The pupal stage lasts about a week.

So far as I can learn, nothing is known of the egg and early
larval stages. Both Fitch and Riley expressed the opinion that
there were two generations in a year, but it has not been observed.
The moths are on the wing here in Amherst during the latter part
of June.


Oxyptilus Delawaricus Zell., Verh. z.-b. Ges. Wien, XXIII.,

p. 318 (1873).
Oxyptilus delawaricus Wlsm., Pter. Cal. and Ore., p. 29, PI.

II., fig. 7 (1880).

Expanse of wings, 17 to 18 mm. Head, thorax and fore wings
light reddish brown. Palpi projecting forward about the length
of the head, acuminate, lighter beneath and at the tip, the second
segment tufted beneath at the end. Antennas fuscous, dotted
with white above. Abdomen reddish brown at the base, yellowish
white beyond and indistinctly marked with whitish scales and
lines, but not so conspicuously marked as tenuidactylus. r Legs
white, barred with dark brown.

Fore wings with a few whitish scales scattered along the costa,
which is slightly shaded with fuscous beyond the middle. There
is a faint brown spot on the cell before the middle, and an
indistinct pale spot on the basal fourth of the hind margin. Two
oblique white stripes cross the first lobe, dividing it into thirds,
the outer stripe appearing again on the second lobe, while only a
trace of the inner stripe is occasionally seen on the second lobe,
extending along to the inner end of the fissure, which is edged
with white and dark brown. The ground color of the lobes is
often darker than the rest of the wing. The costal fringe from
the outer white stripe to the apex is white, that within the fissure
is brown, while the fringe on the rest of the second lobe is white,
cut with brown at the apex, and from the anal angle along the
hind margin to the middle of the lobe, beyond which in one or two
places black scales are seen in the white fringe. Hind wings
darker brown than the fore wings, and with the usual cluster of
black scales in the fringe, near the apex of the third feather.
Nine specimens examined.

Habitat. Canada, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, California.
Early stages andfood plant unknown.



Oxyptilus ningoris Wlsm., Pter. Cal. and Ore., p. 26, PI. II.,
fig. 6 (1880).

Expanse of wings, 15 to 20 mm. Head and thorax dark gray-
ish brown. Palpi clothed with close scales, second segment
untufted. Antennae brownish, dotted with white above. Abdo-
men grayish white at the base, brownish fuscous beyond, with
three pairs of slender white streaks diverging from the front to the
back of each of the anterior segments ; beyond them crossed by
lines of whitish scales. Legs white and banded with brownish

Fore wings dull grayish brown, sprinkled with whitish scales
along the costa, with two oblique white stripes across the lobes
and a small white spot at the end of the fissure, connected with
the first oblique stripe by the white of the fringes, which beyond
this are brownish, except on the outer end of the costa of the first
lobe and in the concave outer border of the second lobe, where
they are white. There is also an inconspicuous white spot on the
basal fourth of the hind margin, and a similar ill-defined spot near
the middle of the wing. Hind wings brownish fuscous, the first
feather barred with white beneath and the third feather widely
barred with white and with blackish scales in the fringe on both
sides towards the outer end. Six specimens examined.

Habitat. California, Oregon. Early stages and food plant


Pterophorus tenuidactylus Fitch, N. Y. Rep., Vol I., p. 848 (1854).
Oxyptilus nigrociliatus Zeller, Verb. z.-b. Ges. Wien, XXIII.,

p. 322 (1873).
Oxyptilus nigrociliatus Wlsm., Pter. Cal. and Ore., p. 31, Plate

II., fig. 8 (1880).
Oxyptilus delavaricus Forbes, 3d 111. Rep., p. 91, Plate X., fig. 2

Oxyptilus nigrociliatus Saund., In). Ins., p. 314, figs. 326-7 (1889).

Expanse of wings, 12 to 15 mm. Head and thorax dark tawny
brown, with a tinge of coppery red ; posterior part of the thorax
white. Palpi ascending, reaching above the top of the head,
slender, not tufted. Antennae black, dotted with white above.
Abdomen of the same color as the wings, with two diverging
white lines on the top of the third segment, and the fifth strongly


marked with white above except in the middle line. Legs white
and banded with dark brown.

Fore wings dark tawny brown, with a tinge of coppery red in
certain lights. Two oblique white stripes cross the lobes, the
inner one being the wider, and both more or less indistinct or
wanting on the second lobe. There is a faint indication of a
white spot near the middle of the wing and a similar one at the
inner end of the fissure. Fringes white on the apical part of the
costa and on the outer margin, cut with blackish at the apex and
anal angle of each lobe, and also blackish in the fissure and on
the outer part of the hind margin of the second lobe. Hind wings
of the same color as the fore wings, with the first feather barred
with white beneath and the third feather white in the middle,
beyond which the fringe on both sides is thickened by heavy black
scales. Fifty-eight specimens examined.

I have before me one specimen from the National Museum,
labelled, in Zeller's handwriting, " Oxyptil. nigrociliatus Z., N.
Am." It also has a printed label, " Collection C. V. Riley," and
therefore it is probable that this specimen was determined by Zeller
himself. I also have two specimens given me by Lord Walsing-
ham which he took in California. Although Professor Zeller de-
clared Lord Walsingham's Californian specimens to be identical
with his nigrociliatus, yet, because of the lighter color of the Cali-
fornian specimens, his lordship wrote : " It is open to question how
far the two forms may be entitled to be considered distinct ; but I
must leave it to be decided by some one who has a more extended
series of the undoubted tenuidactylus to refer to." I have the types
of Fitch in my possession, and there are two specimens of tenui-
dactylus, one of which is a male, from which the figures of the
genitalia on Plate VI. were drawn. I have carefully compared
this with the genitalia of the Californian specimens, as well as
other eastern specimens, and find that there is absolutely no dif-
ference. There is, therefore, no doubt that Lord Walsingham
was correct in considering nigrociliatus the same as tenuidactylus,
and that his Californian specimens are light varieties of the same
species. I have a specimen from Philadelphia as light as any of
my Californian specimens received from Lord Walsingham, and
one taken in Whitman, Mass., which is as light in color as the
lightest specimen from California. This, with many others, was
taken July 19, 18&1, by Mr. J. Elwyn Bates, who found them
flying around blackberry bushes in large numbers.

Habitat* Massachusetts, New York, Delaware, Maryland,


West Virginia, Illinois, Ontario, Colorado, California. Food,
blackberry. This species has been bred from blackberry by Prof.
William Saunders and also by Prof. S. A. Forbes.

'< About the middle of June the larva reaches full growth, when
it is about four-tenths of an inch long, of a pale greenish-yellow
color, streaked with pale yellow, and with transverse rows of
shining tubercles, from each of which arise from two to six
spreading hairs of a yellowish-green color. The head is small,
pale green, with a faint brown dot on each side.

" When the larva is about to change to a chrysalis, it spins a
loose web of silk on a leaf or other suitable spot, to which the
chrysalis is attached. This is less than three-tenths of an inch
long, pointed behind, enlarging gradually towards the front,
where, near the end, it slopes abruptly to the tip. Its color is
pale green, with a line along the back of a deeper shade, margined
on each side with a whitish ridge ; it is also more or less hairy.
In about a week or ten days the chrysalis changes to a darker
color, shortly after which the perfect insect escapes." (Saunders.)

GENUS PLATYPTILIA Hiib., Verz. bek. Schm., p. 429 (1826).

Front with a conical projection, covered by a longer or shorter
tuft of scales. Labial palpi long, slim, porrect or slightly ascend-
ing, closely scaled, the third segment filiform and shorter than the
second. Legs long and slim, the tibia? with darker scales and
sometimes thickened at the end and also in the middle of the hind

Fore wings fissured about one-third of their length, the lobes,
especially the second, wider at the outer end than at the base,
each with a distinct anal angle, the first falcate and the second
convex on the outer margin. The cell is nearly rectangular at the
outer end, and veins 5 and 6, as well as the cross vein, are very
weak. Two internal veins are present. Vein 2 arises from the
outer third of the median vein and ends in or near the anal angle
of the second lobe, while vein 3 ends in the middle and 4 in the
apex of the same lobe. Vein 7 arises a little below the anterior
angle of the cell and ends in or near the anal angle of the first
lobe; 8 and 9 are from a stalk which arises from the anterior
angle of the cell, and 8 ends in the apex, while 9 ends in the
costa; 10 and 11 are somewhat remote from each other and from
the stalk of 8 and 9. The first feather of the hind wings has a
blunt apex, and is wider towards the outer end than at the base.
Veins 7 and 8 arise separately from the base of the wing, approach


very near to each other at the basal third and end at the widest
part of the feather, one in the costa a little before the apex, and

2 4 5 6 7

Online LibraryCharles Henry FernaldThe pterophoridae of North America → online text (page 2 of 7)