ארכיון יומן של יוני 2023

יוני 15, 2023

Chickasaw National Recreation Area observations

Last week I was camping with my family at the Chickasaw National Recreation Area - Point Campground, which is located near Lake of the Arbuckles (aka Arbuckle Lake) in Murray County. This area lies in the EPA Level III "Crosstimbers (29)" ecoregion and the Level IV "Northern Crosstimbers (29a)" ecoregion, which is the same ecoregion as my most common moth night location near Lake Thunderbird in Cleveland County.

The weather was pretty mild for this time of the year. I did have my lights set up one evening and then took them down before doing any observing because a storm rolled through and the wind picked up considerably. I was able to set up my lights and observe moths on 4 nights (June 4, 5, 8, and 9). I left my lights on overnight, so my daily counts include the morning-after photos when I woke up and checked the sheets. Moths seen in the morning are added to the previous night's tally. I kept a tally of all moth species seen the first night, then additional moths each subsequent night.

June 4: 106 species
June 5: 27 additional species
June 8: 9 additional species
June 9: 32 additional species

Total count: 174 species

It's kind of rare for me to spend more than 2 nights with lights set up at a location, but when I do I prefer this method of recording additional new species after the first night. It would be much too cumbersome and time-consuming to generate a complete species report for every night. My list is partly generated as I see the moths and partly through subsequent processing and identification of photos.

The most common moths were:

White-dotted Prominents (Nadata gibbosa) - I actually counted 38 of these at one time.
Yellow-based Cacozelia (Cacozelia basiochrealis)
American Dun-bar (Cosmia calami)
Delightful Dagger (Acronicta vinnula)
Little Nymph Underwing (Catocala micronympha)
Shagreened Slug Moth (Apoda biguttata)

Significant finds for me were:

Lupine Leafroller (Anacampsis lupinella)

Forbes' Idia (Idia forbesii)

Epiblema benignata

Acrobasis comptella

Non-moth observations:

My wife and I were able to go on some daytime forays at the National Recreation Area, but also to the Chickasaw Cultural Center, and the Blue River Public Fishing and Hunting Area. There were lots of flowers in bloom, including Blanketflowers (Gaillardia pulchella), Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta), and American Basketflowers (Plectocephalus americanus). We saw a few Texas Brown Tarantulas around the campground.

Texas Brown Tarantula (Aphonopelma hentzi)

I found a longhorn beetle which was new to me.

Aegomorphus quadrigibbus

I got to go on some hikes with my wife and we ran across multiple Mexican Yellow butterflies, which were new for me. I also saw my first ever Soapberry Hairstreaks!

Mexican Yellow (Abaeis mexicana)

Soapberry Hairstreak (Phaeostrymon alcestis)

On my last full day in the area I went out on a search for larvae of Frosted Elfin (I previously wrote Henry's Elfins by mistake). This is a species of special concern in Oklahoma with a very limited distribution, which includes Murray County. I knew that I first needed to locate the host plants, Yellow Wild Indigo. I found a lot of the plants, which I considered a success all on its own.

Yellow Wild Indigo (Baptisia sphaerocarpa)

I ended up finding more than a dozen larvae of the Genista Broom Moth on these plants, but no Frosted Elfins. I think I will plan to visit this same area next spring when the butterflies should be in flight and laying eggs to see if I can find some then.

Genista Broom Moth larve (Uresiphita reversalis)

הועלה ב-יוני 15, 2023 09:37 אחה"צ על ידי zdufran zdufran | 4 תגובות | הוספת תגובה

יוני 26, 2023

Fascista Identifications

In Oklahoma there are 3 species of Fascista known to occur, bimaculella, cercerisella, and quinella. The Redbud Leaffolder Moth (F. cercerisella) is by far the most commonly observed among these three species. However, I have found that often when F. quinella is observed it is misidentified as F. cercerisella. I think this is due to the prevalence of F. cercerisella and the iNaturalist suggestions only showing that species. I have spent some time going through all observations in Oklahoma and Texas which have been identified as F. cercerisella and provided disagreeing identifications for those that do not fit. These are most often F. quinella or Aroga compositella, although in one case I did notice a JUMPING SPIDER had been identified as F. cercerisella! After noticing the small geographic range of F. quinella I decided to expand my range of review to Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Louisiana, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Kentucky. I found at least one new state record of this species in Arkansas, which had also been misidentified as F. cercerisella and quite a few Aroga compositella which had been misidentified as well.

Redbud Leaffolder Moth (Fascista cercerisella)

Features which help identify this species are the creamy white head, series of three white markings along the outer margin of the forewings, faint orange spots in the center of the forewings, and white markings along the inner margin in the postmedial. Note that most of these features are consistent with F. quinella, with the exception of the feature in bold.

This species is known to occur throughout much of the eastern United States.

Fascista quinella

For this species I will point out features which differ from the aforementioned species. Note the white marking in the antimedial section of the wing is thinner. Where F. cercerisella has faint orange dots, F. quinella has a larger white marking. The central white marking along the outer margin is much smaller than seen on F. cercerisella.

Unlike the first species, F. quinella has a smaller geographic distribution, being known to occur in Oklahoma, Texas, and Florida.

The question of larvae and host plants

The lifecyle of F. cercerisella is well understood and extensively documented. Eggs are laid on the leaves of Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis). After the larvae hatch they stitch together a leaf (as seen above), and proceed to feed and then pupate inside this folded leaf. This behavior leads to the specific epithet cercerisella and the common name Redbud Leaffolder. Larvae are black and white striped.

There are no known photographs of F. quinella larvae and no known host plants. That being said, there are a number of photographs of larvae inside the folded leaves of Redbuds where the larvae are all white. I considered that these might be F. quinella, although it is possible that these are an earlier instar of F. cercerisella, as this photo of both white and striped larvae intermingled would suggest.

All of the photographs of Fascista quinella adults are on sheets or other human structures; none on plants.


Further, if F. quinella uses Eastern Redbuds as host plants then it is curious that the species has not been documented throughout the entire range of this tree, which is widespread in the eastern United States.

Flight time

Based on observations on iNaturalist, Fascista quinella appears to have two broods per year, with a first brief flight time peaking in early April and the second and longer flight time peaking in mid July but lasting from late June through early September. This suggests that caterpillars could be found in May and June.

The flight times and number of broods of F. cercerisella is less clear. There are probably two broods for this species as well, with the second flight being most prominent in July, followed by the most observations of larvae in September.

Next steps

I could answer the question of the white larvae by rearing those to adulthood. I could also try to pair some adult Fascista quinella to see what the resulting larvae look like, although doing this ex situ would not reveal the host plant. I would have to hope that someone recognized the resulting larvae as something that had been found on a host plant before but not correlated to an adult.

הועלה ב-יוני 26, 2023 08:33 אחה"צ על ידי zdufran zdufran | 6 תגובות | הוספת תגובה

Recent lifer moths

For Pollinator Week I organized two different public Moth Nights, one in Norman, Oklahoma and another in Tulsa, Oklahoma (which sadly had to be postponed due to the ongoing storm cleanup). The Moth Night in Norman at Saxon Park was very fruitful, with a count of more than 170 species - my highest single night count ever. We also had a good crowd of humans - around 30, though I didn't do an actual head count.

During that evening I found 6 species which were new-to-me, aka "lifers."

Hypatopa punctiferella

There's nothing real significant about this find, although it might be a new county record. There are prior records in northeast and southeast Oklahoma.

Diviana eudoreella

This is a really good record, as it has not been recorded in Oklahoma before and the nearest observation is from around 400 miles away near the Rio Grande. Thanks to Jack (@jcochran706) for the ID! Check out the range map:

Black-etched Prominent (Americerura scitiscripta)

This is a beauty, even though it's a little worn! My fellow mothing cohort (Rick and Leah) had both seen this species before, but I had somehow missed out. This was probably my favorite find of the night.

Bucculatrix simulans

This is a first state record for Oklahoma and only the 2nd observation on iNaturalist. Currently there isn't a thumbnail/default photo for the species.

Hahncappsia pergilvalis

The only other Oklahoma observation of this species on iNaturalist is from the far west end of the OK panhandle. MPG has a record from northeast Oklahoma.

Moon-lined Moth (Spiloloma lunilinea)

This was a bittersweet one for me. I knew on sight what this was and that it was a lifer for me, but sad to see that it had been stepped on.


In addition to these new sightings, I saw an emerald I had previously only seen outside of Oklahoma and a rare underwing I had only seen once before.

Ultronia Underwing (Catocala ultronia)

And my final entry in this post is a Gracillariidae that I have not been able to identify and feel like we should be able to track down.

Any ideas?

הועלה ב-יוני 26, 2023 09:11 אחה"צ על ידי zdufran zdufran | 0 תגובות | הוספת תגובה