Monday, June 1, 2015

One Cool Insect

Geina periscelidactylus
The creature above looks like an illustration from a science fiction magazine, but Kevin Firth assures me that it is quite real. It may look tattered or partially eaten, but it is actually a newly emerged healthy adult.  To save you from guessing what it is, I will tell you - it is Geina periscelidactylus.

I should have mentioned that he first found the larva above and raised it until it pupated. Its cocoon below is equally strange, looking like a broken plant stem. Time to mention that this is a moth! "Kind of excited about these little guys, though it sounds like it might be difficult to distinguish between Geina sheppardi and Geina periscelidactylus."  (Kevin and I are easily excited.)

Geina periscelidactylus pupa
Kevin was leaning toward calling it Geina periscelidactylus when he sent it off to BAMONA's Phil Koenig, who confirmed his diagnosis. This is more commonly known as the Grape Plume Moth, a common finding in the Eastern US. Its larvae feed on grape and Virginia creeper.

Plume moths are in the family Pterophoridae (not getting any easier is it?) characterized by their tattered appearing wings. On first glance they look like a chewed dead leaf or a bit of grass. Wikipedia describes them this way:
"The forewings of plume moths usually consist of two curved spars with more or less bedraggled bristles trailing behind. This resembles the closely related Alucitidae (many-plumed moths) at first glance, but the latter have a greater number of symmetrical plumes. The hindwings are similarly constructed, but have three spars."
This might be a minor annoyance if you raise grapes, but otherwise it is one cool insect!

1 comment:

  1. Plenty of nice posts Bob, including this one. Plume Moths are cool. Like so many creatures there are many subtle characteristics. Identification can be tough, but raising the larva is the sure way to do it.