|scientific name Feralia comstocki |
A medium-size (approximately 3.3-3.5 cm wingspan) moth with green forewings mottles with black and pale grey and white hindwings. The forewings vary from pale mint green to dark olive green. The orbicular and reniform spots are prominent and green, and the area between the spots and beyond and below the reniform are filled with black. The fringe is strongly checkered black and white. The hind wings are dirty white, usually with a hint of green. They have a prominent wide diffuse darker subterminal band, and a large diffuse discal crescent. Fringe lightly checkered. Sexes similar, but male with bipectinate antennae, female simple. Similar to F. jocosa, which is smaller and usually has less prominent dark blotches on the forewings. The pale hindwings will separate comstocki from both major and jocosa, both of which have dark hindwings. Adults and genitalia of both sexes are illustrated in Poole, 1995.
Like other Feralia species, the life cycle of comstocki is closely tied to the appearance of new needle buds on the host conifers. The adults emerge in early spring and lay eggs on the host. The egg hatch as the first bud scales fall off the new needles, and much of their development may be completed by the time the new needles have hardened. They pupate and complete their transformation into adults within the pupae before snowfall. The larva is described and illustrated in color in Duncan, 2006:196.
It is likely more common and widespread than the records indicate, due to the fact the adults have finished flying prior to most field collecting.
Reported larval hosts include a number of conifers, including Douglas fir, western hemlock, subalpine fir, white and Englemann spruce.
From the southern Appalachians north to the Maritime Provinces, east across the southern boreal forest to Vancouver Island, south to Oregon. In Alberta comstocki has been collected from the Lake Athabasca and Zama areas south to about Pigeon Lake (Winfield). Open circles are old FIDS records as plotted in Prentice (1962).
Comstocki is perhaps the commonest of our three Alberta Feralia species, and is the most attractive if one is fond of green. We have taken all three species flying together in mature mixedwood forest near Edmonton, and both specimens illustrated above were collected in the Edmonton area.
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