|Insect in a box - REK|
This tiny winged creature's body measured 10mm. It was quite lively and since it wouldn't be surviving the winter weather anyway, it went into the freezer for euthanasia, nestled in the ice tray along with future suppers. Did I mention that Barb is a very tolerant naturalist?
|Ventral view - Click to enlarge REK|
You might think that something this strange would be easy to identify but I practically wore out my Peterson's field guide without coming close. Googling "strange wings moths" and other topics failed to find a picture and my personal resources were traveling abroad. Finally I sent it to Bugguide and got a prompt response from A. Henderson. This is an eggplant leafroller, Lineodes integra.
Bugguide lists larval food plants in the "tomato family (Solanaceae), such as eggplant (Solanum melongena), ground-cherry (Physalis spp.), pepper (Capsicum spp.), tropical soda apple (Solanum viarum), and garden tomato (Solanum lycopersicon)." Our moth didn't have far to fly, just a few feet from our dying cherry tomato and jalapeno pepper plants that had nurtured it this fall.
|Margarethe Brummermann PhD|
|Lineodes integra - Wikipedia|
I could only make out the beautiful wing pattern with magnification and a bright light. Under the microscope you can see the tibial ruffles on its long, thin legs. You can see more of this moth's life cycle on this Arizonabeetlesbugsbirdsandmore link.