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Species Page - Sthenopis purpurascens
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scientific name    Sthenopis purpurascens    

habitat
Mature mixedwood and poplar forest, in particular near wetlands.

seasonality
Adults fly in Alberta from early July through mid-August, peaking the last half of July.

identification
Adults are large (6.6-10.0 cm wingspan) long-winged moths that occur in two color forms, purple-grey and yellow-brown. Until recently the yellow-brown form was thought to be a separate species, S. quadriguttatus. The forewings have a darker oblique median band, a darker terminal area and darker spots along the costa. There are two small, silver spots near the wing base. Hindwings are even purple brown or salmon pink, unmarked except for one or two small spots on the outer part of the leading edge. The antennae in both sexes are greatly reduced and hair-like, and separate them from all other large Alberta moths. The similar S. argenteomaculatus (Harris) does not occur in Alberta, and the literature reports for argentomaculatus are errors (Schmidt and Lawrie, 1999).

life history
Females deposit eggs in the vicinity of the host while in flight. The larvae bore into the roots of poplars, willows or alder where they complete the life cycle. The larvae apparently take two years to complete the lifecycle, and adults in Alberta are more common in odd-numbered years. Mature larvae are about 50-60 cm long, with cream-white bodies, brown heads and brown bases of the setae. The adults are crepuscular and are poorly attracted to light.

conservation
A fairly common, widespread insect; no concerns.

diet info
Larvae bore into the roots of poplars (Populus sp.), and to a lesser extent willow (Salix) and alder (Alnus).

range
Labrador and New York north and west to British Columbia and the Northwest Territories, south in the mountains to Arizona. In Alberta, it is most common throughout the Boreal forest and Aspen Parkland regions, less common in the Foothills and Mountains, and along wooded parts of the valleys in the Grasslands region.

quick link
http://entomology.museums.ualberta.ca/searching_species_details.php?s=2299



Comments (1)Add New Comment

dennis mazar (2010-07-27)
One found me at Hinton Alberta on July 27,2010.She then proceded to drop some of her eggs on me. She is 4.5 cm long,9.5 to 10 cm wing span.Head hair colour is greeny grey,body is silver gray, sections of body are clear(can see internals working)so look yellow.This moth has not attempted to fly away due to she is too fat with eggs to fly,1 attempt got her 4 feet.(splat)The bird pattern on the wings is amazing,closed wings(small bird),wings open(looks like a chickadie attacking)WOW.P.S. Took vid of the wing pattern.

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Related Species Info
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References (3)
Specimen Info
There are 80 specimens of this species in the online database
Map Distribution
Adult Seasonal Distributioncreate a collection histogram with specimens
Specimen List (80)
Related Links
Moth Photographers Group

 

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