11 July 2012 - Diamond-back and a Girl... Best Friends

Diamond-back Moth (Plutella xylostella)
We have two new micromoth species today: the Diamond-back Moth (Plutella xylostella) and Clepsis consimilana.

The most extraordinary characteristic of the Diamond-back Moth is its almost limitless distribution… a fair share of this species has even been recorded in the Arctic Circle! I was grateful that it stuck around long enough for a photograph because its appearance helps explain part of its name. Plutella comes from the Latin plutos (washed) describing the smudged-looking colors that blend into each other as they recede down the length of the wings. Xylostella comes from the honeysuckle genus, mistakenly thought to be the larvae’s foodplant.

Clepsis consimilana
We almost missed the Clepsis consimilana because she lay asleep on the screened box rather than on or within the trap itself. Clepsis comes from klepto (to steal or conceal), which refers to the larvae who hide themselves in spinnings. It also seems appropriate for the adult we found today, as it was a hidden from the rest of the catch. Consimilis means ‘entirely similar’ but probably refers to the uniform color of the forewing rather than any similarity to another species. The interesting thing about this name is that only the female is solid-colored. The male is usually much lighter and has darker-shaded markings.

Welcome to our list. Current count: 204.

-Post by Helen Levins