Charles Henry Fernald.

The pterophoridae of North America online

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Platyptilia Bertrami Hoi, Deut. Pter., p. 55 (1895).

Expanse of wings, 22-28 mm. Head, palpi, frontal tuft, tho-
rax and abdomen pale ochre yellow, the collar and outside of the
palpi sometimes a little darker. Palpi and frontal tuft of nearly
equal length, extending forward of the head a distance equal to
the length of the head. Antennae whitish, dotted above with dark
brown. All the coxae, femora, anterior and middle tibiae brown-
ish yellow on the outside, whitish within. Hind tibiae whitish at
the base, dull brown on the outer half. All the tarsi whitish, ex-
cept in some examples the segments of the hind tarsi are touched
with dull brown. Fore wings somewhat falcate at the end of the
first lobe, pale ochre yellow, fuscous along the costal edge, broken
by an oblique light shade above and a little beyond the end of the
fissure, within which a darker shade extends from the costa across
the cell containing two brownish dots, one on each angle of the
cell. The anterior dot is seldom present and often both are
absent. An elongated ochre yellow spot rests on the cell half-
way between the discal dots and the base of the wing, a second
elongated spot on the hind margin at the base and another near
the middle of the wing. The lobes are somewhat darker at the
outer end, sometimes with an indication of a pale subterminal line.
Fringes whitish, with a darker shade outwardly, and with a dark-
brown basal line which extends a little into the fissure. The
darker ochre yellow spots are often extended so that nearly the
whole surface of the wing is of this color. Hind wings dark


ochreous fuscous, with a more or less distinct cluster of dark
scales near the middle of the hind fringe of the third feather.

The genitalia are represented on Plate III., figs. 4 and 5. For
the sake of comparison the genitalia of P. ochrodactyla are repre-
sented on the same plate, figs. 14 and 15. These were made from
specimens received from Professor Zeller, and labelled in his own

The above description was drawn up from one hundred and
thirteen American specimens.

Habitat. Europe; Canada, Maine, New Hampshire, Massa-
chusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Colorado, California, Oregon.
Food, Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) .

In some unpublished notes received from Mr. Charles Fish, I
find the following statement : " Received from Mr. J. Elwyn Bates,
on June 30, 1881, some eggs of Plat, bischoffii, which were laid
June 24, to the number of twenty-four. They were elliptical in
outline and somewhat flattened. The longer diameter was three-
sevenths of a millimeter and the shorter diameter was three-tenths
of a millimeter, and the surface was irregularly corrugated. When
first deposited they were of a light cream color or almost hyaline
with a glossy surface, but after two days they turned to a deep
flesh color." There was no note made as to whether these eggs
hatched, or not.

Different stages of the larva have been described by several
writers in Europe, and the mature larva is briefly described as fol-
lows : ' ' Larva green ; dorsal line darker or somewhat brownish
tinged ; subdorsal and lateral gray whitish ; subspiracular white ;
head whitish yellowish." (Meyrick.)

44 The pupa is a little over half an inch long, with a longish
beak in front, projecting at a slight angle downwards from the
head ; pointed at the tail ; the wing cases of moderate length, well
developed, and the ends of the leg cases projecting free from the
abdomen. The color is bright pale green, dorsal line dark green,
edged on the thorax with white ; beak white above, rust color on
the sides ; there is a conspicuous streak of this rust color on the
hind part of the thorax, and the same color also appears (but more
faintly) on the abdominal point and at the tip of the leg cases ;
subdorsal line dark green, lateral line white. Ventral surface pale
green, with darker green lines, and the wing-cases with whitish
rays." (Porritt.)

The insects before me, so far as the labels indicate, were on the
wing in Maine, June 24 ; Massachusetts, from the 10th to the 27th


of June ; New York, from June 23 to July 17 ; Missouri, in May ;
Colorado, from the llth to the 16th of June; California, June 1
to 18.

I have seven European species of Platyptilia in my collection,
all named by Professor Zeller. Five of these are males, and an
examination of the genitalia proves that one which Zeller named
bertrami is ochrodactyla and one named oclirodactyla is bertrami.
They approach each other so closely in form and coloration that it
is not surprising that they should have been considered conspecific
for so long a time, and that there should have been so much dis-
cussion about the matter in the European journals. Mr. Tutt has
given an excellent resume" of this discussion in his ' ' Monograph of
the Pterophorina of Britain." Mr. Tutt suggests that Haworth's
pallidactyla is identical with bertrami, and in that case it should
take precedence, but until this is adopted we must accept the name
marginidactyla Fitch, which is ten years older than bertrami.

The types of Fitch now belong to my collections ; and I have
made a critical examination of the genitalia, and they agree per-
fectly with the genitalia of bertrami.

GENUS ALUCITA Linn., Syst. Nat., Ed. X., p. 542 (1758).

Vertex smooth ; front smooth or a little swollen, closely scaled ;
antennae with a thickened basal segment. Palpi slim, porrect or
somewhat ascending, the third segment shorter than the second,
pointed and sometimes .bent down a little. Anterior and middle
tibiae very slightly thickened at the end ; hind tibiae without thick-
ening of scales. Abdomen moderately slim, the second and third
segments not much longer than the others. Fore wings fissured
half their length or a little more, the lobes running to a point and
bent backward somewhat, especially the second lobe. Feathers of
the hind wings all of the same form, linear and pointed, without a
cluster of dark scales in the fringe of the third feather.


Ground color of the fore wings white, . . . ! . . ' . montana.

Ground color of the fore wings yellowish white, . . cinerascens.

Ground color of the fore wings gray, ., - * , _,-. . ; .- . . 2.

Expanse of wings, 18 mm., . * , '...- * ., . >. . belfragei.

Expanse of wings, 25 mm., . . . . . . walsinghami.


Expanse of wings, 25-26 mm. Head, thorax and abdomen
grayish white. Legs pale brown.


Fore wings grayish white, brownish along the extreme costal
margin ; a more or less obsolete brown spot on the middle of the
cell and three darker brown spots in the whitish costal fringe of
the first lobe, one nearly over the end of the fissure, one at the
middle and one near the end of the lobe. Remaining fringes pale
brown, white at the end of the fissure, along the middle of the
costa of the second lobe, just before the apex of the hind margin,
near the base of the lobe and beneath the outer fourth of the cell.
Hind wings and fringes pale brown.

Nearly related to A. volgensis Moesch., from Sarepta, Russia.

Described from four examples from Colorado, and named in
honor of Lord Walsingham, who has made most valuable contri-
butions to our knowledge, not only of North American Ptero-
phoridse, but also of other microlepidoptera.

Early stages and food plant unknown.

Aciptilus Belfragei Fish, Can. Ent., Vol. XIII., p 142 (1881).

Expanse of wings, 18 mm. Head brownish gray. Palpi brown
above, whitish beneath. Antennae whitish, dotted with pale brown
above. Thorax pale ochreous gray in front; hind portion and
abdomen pale grayish ochreous, striped longitudinally with fine
white lines and marked with dark streaks. Legs pale grayish ;
fore and middle femora striped longitudinally with whitish and
dark brown lines ; tarsi pale ochreous, with shadings on the outer
side ; hind tibiae and tarsi pale ochreous ; spurs tipped with brown.

Fore wings pale ochreous gray, dusted with brown scales ; an
oblique dark-brown patch at the base of the fissure, bordered pos-
teriorly with white ; a small brown spot midway between this and
the base of the wing ; two longitudinal brown spots on the outer
third of the costa of first lobe and one or, two brown dots on the
outer margin of the same lobe near the apex. Fringes pale brown
except at the apex of the second lobe, where they are white. Hind
wings brownish cinereous. Fringes pale brown.

Habitat. Texas. Early stages and food plant unknown.


Aciptilus montanus Wlsm., Pter. Cal and Ore., p. 59, Plate III., fig. 14

Expanse of wings, 16 mm. Head white, antenna? faintly dotted
above with brownish. Thorax, abdomen and legs snow white ; the
fore and middle legs brownish on the inner side.


Fore wings snow white, sprinkled with ferruginous-brown scales,
especially on the outer half of the costa ; a spot of these scales
before the base of the fissure runs obliquely to a darker spot on
the costa, and this is nearly connected by a dark shade with an-
other brown costal spot near the apex ; a dark-brown fine streak
on the outer half of the costa of the second lobe extends through
the fringe under the apex ; all of the rest of the fringe is snow
white. Hind wings dusted with cinereous brown.

Habitat. California, New York.

" The larva feeds upon different species of Solidago. The first
examples were noticed on May 30. At this time they were found
only on the under side of the leaves, later they occur on the upper
as well. As a rule, they lie close to and parallel with the mid-
vein. At least while young they eat out the parenchyma, leaving
the epidermis.

" May 30 the larvae were .1 of an inch and less in length; en-
tirely white, except claws and mandibles. The body is not flat-
tened at this stage. The first ring is broad, and the head may be
well withdrawn into it. The tubercular hairs are spined, plainly
seen under a moderate magnifying power.

"June 3 the largest had evidently moulted, length then .2 of an
inch, pale green, eighth and ninth rings yellow. Lateral tufts
more conspicuous. Dorsal line faint. Subsequent changes not
noted until full-grown larva was described the latter part of June.
Length .34 to .4 of an inch. Pale pea green, head paler; dorsal
stripe of three white lines, the middle one the finest and most
clearly defined. The seventh, eighth and ninth rings yellow.
The posterior subdorsal papilla of the body rings bears two un-
equal hairs, the anterior but one ; above the spiracles and in front
of them also is a papilla; below the same there are two, from
which arise long hairs, five from posterior and ten or twelve from
anterior, these are spread out fan-like ; below these a prominent
longitudinal fold. From the first ring proceed long hairs reach-
ing over and beyond the head. Hairs all unbranched and plu-
mose. The body is considerably flattened, so when looking down
upon it the spiracles from either side may be seen at once, spira-
cles conical, rings black.

"The pupa is .3 of an inch in length; light green, some of
them have a reddish stripe along dorsal part of the abdomen, the
conical spiracles of such have the same hue. The upper part of
the rings well clothed, especially at extremities and along the
lateral ridges. Pupa fastens to a tuft of silk by means of the


hooks of the last ring. Moth appears through greater part of
July." (Kellicott.)


Aciptilus cinerascens Wlsm., Pter. Cal. and Ore., p. 57, Plate III., fig. 13

Expanse of wings, 19 mm. Head slightly ochreous ; palpi very
short ; antennae pubescent, pale ochreous. Thorax whitish, espe-
cially in front, where two indistinct dark lines run forward to the
head. Abdomen pale ochreous. Legs whitish, the fore and mid-
dle pairs tinged with brown on the inner side.

Fore wings very pale ochreous, dusted thickly with brownish,
forming a large spot before the base of the fissure ; a subcostal
spot before the middle and two small costal spots on the outer half
of the first lobe. Fringes below the apex of first lobe and on the
apex of the second lobe dark brown ; pale subochreous within the
fissure, with a brownish spot on the hind margin. Hind wings
and fringes pale cinereous ; under side pale brownish.

Habitat. California. Early stages and food plant unknown.

GENUS PTEROPHORUS Geoff., Hist. Ins., Vol. II., p. 90 (1764).

Vertex and front smooth ; palpi short, not reaching beyond the
head or but very slightly ; porrect, or slightly ascending, the third
segment short and sometimes bent down a little ; antennae with a
thickened basal segment. Anterior and middle tibiae only slightly
thickened at the end ; hind tibiae without a thickening of scales.

Fore wings fissured about one-third of their length ; both lobes
pointed, the hind lobe in some species with a scarcely perceptible
anal angle. Feathers of the hind wings unlike in form, with long
fringes and without a black scale cluster. The upper angle of the
cell is very acute, formed by the very oblique cross vein.


Fore wings remarkably narrow, dirty white, . agraphodactylus.
Ground color of the fore wings snow white, .... 2.
Ground color of the fore wings bluish white, . . . brucei.
Ground color of the fore wings pale sulphur yellow,

sulphur eodactylus.

Ground color of the fore wings pale straw color, ... 4.
Ground color of the fore wings cream white, .... 5.
Ground color of the fore wings pale brownish white, . rileyi.
Ground color of the fore wings very pale brownish gray, . 6.
Ground color of the fore wings ochre yellow, ... 8.
Ground color of the fore wings brown or dark gray, 14.


2 J Expanse of wings less than 21 mm., -,'... . fishii.
\ Expanse of wings more than 21 mm., . . . . . 3.

3 ^ Expanse of wings between 23 and 25 mm., . . . elliottii.
\ Expanse of wings more than 25 mm., . . . homodactylus.
J Costa of first lobe of fore wing indistinctly brownish, stramineus.
( Costa of first lobe of fore wing not marked with brown, angustus.

g J Expanse of wings 24 mm., helianthi.

\ Expanse of wings 28 mm., subochraceus .

,* { Fore wings with a brown spot at the end of the fissure, . 7.

f Fore wings unspotted, inconditus.

J Fore wings sprinkled with black scales, . . mathewianus.

\ Fore wings not sprinkled with black scales, . . paleaceus.

/- With three or four terminal brown spots on outer margin of
8 < second lobe, kellicottii.

(.Without this character, 9.

J Pale ochre yellow without any markings, . . . grandis.

} With more or less markings, 10.

f An oblique reddish brown shade from costa to fissural spot,
10. < cretidactylus.

C Without this character, 11.

J Second lobe of a lighter color than the rest of the wing, baroni.

) Without this character, 12.

19 ^ A brown costal streak over the end of fissure, . . . 13.

} Without this character, guttatus.

-0 J Expanse of wings 28 mm., cineraceus.

( Expanse of wings 22 mm., gratiosus.

- . J With tuft of scales near middle of hind tibiae, . monodactylus.

\ Without this character, . . 15.

., ^ Expanse of wings less than 20 mm., . . . . .16.

\ Expanse of wings more than 20 mm., 17.

lfi J Costa of first lobe with two dark brown spots, . inquinatus.

\ Costa of first lobe without two dark brown spots, . . parvus.

.. J Costal region light yellowish brown, .... eupatorii.

\ Costal region dark, . . . . . . . .18.

1 ,, $ Outer fourth of costa mostly white, .... grisescens.

) Outer fourth of costa with but little white, . . . lugubris.

Alucita fishii Fern., Can. Ent., Vol., XXV., p. 95 (1893).

Expanse of wings, 20 mm. Thorax and abdomen white. Legs
white slightly tinged with brownish.

Fore wings white with a few brown scales scattered over the
costal portion before the fissure, forming a faint costal triangu-
lar patch, beyond which are two equidistant brown spots on the
costa. Fringes pure white. Hind wings and fringes pure white.
Described from one specimen with the head wanting.

Habitat. Nevada. Early stages and food plant unknown.


Pterophorus homodaclylus Walk., Cat. Lep. Het., Vol. XXX., p.

941 (1864).

? Leioptilus hololeucos Zell., Lep. Westk. Am., p. 23 (1874).
Lioplilus homodactyhis Wlsm., Pter. Cal. and Ore., p. 50, Plate

III, figs. 8, 9 (1880).

Expanse of wings, 22-27 mm. Head white, palpi and antennae
whitish. Thorax and abdomen white. Legs white, slightly tinged
with cinereous.

Fore wings white, very slightly dusted on the costa with brown-
ish scales ; a brownish spot before and slightly below the base of
the fissure ; a group of indistinct brownish scales between this and
the base of the wing ; a faint indication of two brownish dots on
the outer margin. Hind wings and fringes pure white, with a
silky lustre. In some specimens the brownish spots are absent.

A variety of this species has the head brown behind and in
front, the palpi brownish and antennae dingy white. Fore wings
more heavily dusted with brown scales, fringes tinged at the tips
around the obsolete anal angle with pale cinereous. Hind wings
and fringes very pale cinereous. Legs white, first two pairs
touched with brownish on their inner sides.

A specimen of this species was sent by Lord Walsingham to
Professor Zeller, who remarked : 4 4 Only larger, otherwise agree-
ing with Lioptilus hololeucos Zeller ; on the right anterior wings it
has also two dots."

Habitat. South America, California, Oregon. Food, Soli-
dago, Eupatorium purpureum.

44 Larva. Length, .55 of an inch ; pale yellowish green ; dorsal
line sharply defined, white; subdorsai and stigmatal lines similar;
the top of each ring from the second to the tenth bears a minute
circle of white interrupting the dorsal line. The dorsal spaces of
each ring from the fourth to the eleventh bear a pair of tubercles
on either side of the middle line, from these proceed rather long,
stiff, hoary, smooth hairs ; the thoracic and terminal rings have a
single papilla in place of the pairs. These tubercles stand in a
light stripe. Below them a single tubercle with similar appen-
dages ; below the spiracles a larger one with a minute one back
of it bearing three or four hairs, also one above the line of the
feet. Legs and ventral surface hairy. The anterior half of the
first ring bears many hairs, which hang over the head somewhat.
Spiracles round, rim white; back of each there is a short, stiff
hair. Head almost colorless, except mouth organs and ocelli;


epicranial suture deep ; cranial lobes hemispherical, with scattered

" The pupa measures .45 of an inch. It is light pea green,
turning white before the moth escapes. There is a clear dorsal
space with an interrupted white line in the middle ; also white
lines on the lateral faces. The tubercles are set with hairs ex-
actly as in the larva, so the pupa is quite conspicuously clothed ;
the head and thorax support shorter hairs arising singly from the
surface ; short, dusky hairs stand in rows on the wing covers, ap-
parently outlining the veins ; there is a similar row on the antennae
covers. The pointed cremaster ends with many booklets, which
fasten the pupa securely to the leaf, on which a tuft of silk has
been spun by the larva. The thorax is quite obliquely truncated ;
seen from below, it is slightly bilobed, rendered so by the promi-
nent origin of the antennae covers ; between the lobes there is a
slight tufted tubercle." (Kellicott.)


Expanse of wings, 24-26 mm. Head and thorax pale ashy
gray, with the tegulae much lighter.

Fore wings white, with a few brown scales scattered over the
surface, most numerous basally and along the costa. An elon-
gated brown spot on the cell near the basal third of the wing ; a
triangular brown spot on the end of the cell immediately before
the fissure, indistinctly connected with an elongate brown spot on
the costa above the end of the fissure; a similar spot occurs
near the middle of the costa of the first lobe. Fringe of first
lobe whitish on the costa and fuscous from the base of the cleft to
the apex, immediately before which it is cut with white, and there
is a brown spot on the wing at the base of the white. Fringe of
second lobe fuscous within the cleft and whitish elsewhere. Hind
wings pale fuscous, with the fringes a little darker than the sur-
face of the feathers.

Early stages and food plant unknown.

Described from three examples collected in Colorado by Mr.
David Bruce, whose work in the west has enriched many museums
and private collections.

Alucita elliottii Fern., Can. Ent., Vol. XXV., p. 95 (1893).

Expanse of wings, 23-25 mm. Head very pale fuscous. Thorax
and abdomen whitish fuscous. Legs white.


Fore wings white, tinged more or less with ochre yellow near
the base and on the apical third of the costa; a very oblique
streak of brown scales on the costa near the apex and a dark-
brown spot before the fissure ; a streak of irregular brown scales
extends from the base of the wing to the fissure. Fringes white.
Hind wings pure white, with a few ochre yellow scales scattered
over the surface in some specimens. Fringes white.

Habitat. New York. Early stages and food plant unknown.


Lioptilus subochraceus Wlsm , Pter. Cal. and Ore., p. 53, Plate

III., fig. 10 (1880).
? Pterophorus lacteodaclylus Cham., Can. Ent M Vol. V., p. 73


Having no example of this species from California, I copy Lord
Walsingham's description :

"Head whitish above; face and neck brownish; palpi very
short, not projecting as far as the front of the head; antennae
whitish ochreous, with the basal joint brown.

"Fore wings pale subochreous, without spots or markings, ex-
cept a rather oblique delicate ferruginous shade above the base of
the fissure, reaching the costa before the apex ; the cilia about the
dorsal margin of the second lobe are slightly tinged with brownish.
Hind wings very pale brownish straw color. Legs whitish.

"Expanse, 28 mm."

Habitat. California. Early stages and food plant unknown.

I have the type of lacteodactylus before me, and the head and
palpi agree perfectly with the above description, but the wings are
somewhat worn. Without seeing an authentic specimen of sub-
ochraceus, I do not feel prepared to pronounce them identical. I
have two specimens from Massachusetts which were supposed to
be subochraceus, by Mr. Fish, and from which the drawings of the
genitalia on Plate IV. were made. In these specimens the palpi
are longer than in lacteodactylus, and I do not think they are the


Lioptilus helianthi Wlsm., Pter. Cal. and Ore., p. 54, Plate III., fig. 11

Expanse of wings, 24 mm. Head and thorax whitish ; palpi
brownish; antennae white, dotted with brown above. Abdomen
whitish. Legs whitish, dotted with brown on the under side of
the segments.


Fore wings cream white, with a few scattered brown scales ; a
brown spot before the base of the fissure and another between
that and the costa, upon which is a brown line ; the apex of each
lobe sprinkled with brown, and on the apex of the first lobe are
two or three small brown spots or dashes. Fringes cream white,
tinged with brown on the outer margin. Hind wings very pale
cinereous ; fringes slightly darker about the ends of the feathers.

Habitat. Southern Oregon. Food plant, Helianthus.


Lioptilus stramineus Wlsm., Pter. Cal. and Ore., p. 41, Plate III., fig. 3

Expanse of wings, 19 mm. Head yellowish brown above and
in front, yellowish white between the antennae ; palpi and anten-
nae pale straw color above, brownish beneath. Thorax, abdomen,
legs and spurs pale straw color; Fore wings straw color, with a
slightly brownish streak extending from the base along the lower
half of the wing, and one running obliquely on the costa, pointing
inward toward a brown spot at the base of the fissure. Fringes
grayish, slightly tinged with brown. Hind wings and fringes
pale grayish brown.

Habitat. Southern Oregon. Early stages and food plant un-


Lioptilus angustus Wlsm., Pter. Cal. and Ore., p. 43, Plate III., fig. 4

Expanse of wings, 18 mm. Head very pale straw color; palpi
straw color above, tinged with brownish on the sides ; antennae
whitish, with indistinct ochreous spots above. Thorax and abdo-
men pale straw color. Legs whitish.

Fore wings narrow, very pale straw color tinged with ochreous ;
a dark fuscous dot at the base of the fissure. Fringes very pale

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Online LibraryCharles Henry FernaldThe pterophoridae of North America → online text (page 4 of 7)