|scientific name Polychrysia esmeralda |
Lush meadows and woodland edges in the mountains and foothills, and in flower gardens further east.
Adults are on the wing from late June through early August.
A medium-size (3.4-3.5 cm wingspan) broad-winged dirty white and metallic golden-brown moth. Forewings are a brassy golden-brown. The median area is crossed by a rather narrow, bent and somewhat diffuse darker band. Just inside the bend in this band is a large, hollow kidney-shaped silver-white stigma. The forewing apex and subterminal areas are paler, almost white. The entire wing area is crossed by a number of fine brown lines and scattered black scales. Hindwings are brown, with a faint discal dot and a narrow median line. Palpi are prominent, erect and pointed. Antennae are simple, and both the sexes are alike. There are no similar species. Until recently, esmeralda was known as P. moneta, a different Palearctic species.
Adults appear to be largely crepuscular, but have also been collected at lights. They are rather slow flying, and can be caught by hand when they are visiting the hostplant blossoms. Adults have also been captured at dusk while nectaring at fireweed blossoms. They overwinter as either early instar larvae or eggs, as the larvae appear shortly after the new growth of the hosts occurs (late April or May). They burrow into and eat out the growing leader, causing considerable damage where these plants are used as garden flowers. The spun cocoon is a beautiful affair made out of fine, gold silk.
A rather common widespread species, and a pest on ornamental plantings. No concerns.
The larvae feed on species of monkshood (Aconitum sp.) and larkspur or delphinium (Delphinium sp.), and are pests on these plants in Edmonton. Adults will visit Fireweed blossoms for nectar.
Eastern Siberia and parts of Asia, east and south in North America to southern Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. It is widespread in the mountains and foothills of Alberta, as well as in gardens with ornamental plantings of delphinium or monkshood in urban areas across the plains.
Comments are published according to our submission guidelines. The EH Strickland Entomological Museum does not necessarily endorse the views expressed.