Friday, July 27, 2012

Moth Week 5: Snout Moths

Chytolita cf petrialis (Grote, 1880) the Lesser Luteous Snout
'Snout moth' refers to members of several moth families that have large labial palps that jut forward like a snout. Don't ask me why, but since the 'snout' evolved in several different lineages, I suppose there must be a good reason. Anyway, it makes this otherwise innocuous Stone-winged Owlet interesting and also gives it a second common name: the Lesser Luteous Snout. That makes me wonder what the Greater Luteous Snout might look like, but the all-knowing Google claims there is no such thing. How strange, but perhaps 'luteous' should be 'ludicrous'?
Palthis angulalis (Hübner, 1796) the Angulated Snout
There is a Morbid Snout Chytolita morbidalis (Guenée, 1854) that looks very similar and hence the 'cf'. This is an abbreviation for the Latin word confer that commands one to 'compare' and is a way of weaselling when unsure of an identification. Still, I'm pretty sure the upper Snout is Chytolita petrialis, since I've found no records for Morbid Snouts in central Alberta and the picture was snapped in a marshy area - which this species is supposed to prefer. The larvae feed on dead leaves. In contrast, the larvae of Palthis angulalis (Hübner, 1796) the Angulated Snout, apparently feed on conifer needles. I rather like the paper airplane look of the wings folded at rest. Both of these snout moths belong to the subfamily Herminiinae, sometimes somewhat imprecisely called Litter Moths.
Rivula propinqualis Guenée, 1854 the Yellow Snout
In contrast, the rather modest snout moth sporting on the orange Achillea, Rivula propinqualis Guenée, 1854, the Spotted Grass Moth or Yellow Snout-moth belongs to the subfamily Rivulinae that does not seem to have attracted a common name. Given the modest snout and the caterpillars apparent preference for grasses, I think I'll call this one the Spotted Grass Moth.
Modest Snout of the Spotted Grass Moth
In addition to the Erebidae, members of the Crambidae such as the Orange Mint Moth we looked at earlier in the week and of the Pyralidae also are called snout moths. That's a lot of snouts, but perhaps its best to leave it here. The sun is shining and the radar not yet filled with storms, so its time to go look for some bugs in the Garden.

No comments:

Post a Comment