|scientific name Greya |
common name Greya Moths
Semiarid steppe to moist woodlands (Davis et al 1992).
Most species have adults active in the early spring and summer.
Greya contains 18 species, of particular interest to biologists because they are closely related to yucca moths, so their phylogeny can provide insight for theories of plant-insect coevolution (Pellmyr 2000). Busck (1903) described the genus based on three species formerly placed in Incurvaria, and named it after Lord T. de Grey Walsingham.
Adults are small to medium in size, the males larger than females. The wings are solid gray, yellow, or white to speckled or checkered (Pellmyr 2000). The female ovipositor is laterally flattened, asnd males possess a narrow, extended membranous zone on the valva inner surface; the valva has a prominent pollex on the ventral margin (Pellmyr 2000).
Key to Alberta species of Greya (adapted from Davis et al. 1992 and Brown et al. 1994):
1a. Forewing without pattern - (2)
1b. Forewing with some pattern - (3)
2a. Forewing ochreous to pale ochreous; wingspan 17-20 mm; zigzag wing pattern absent; uncus deeply bilobed - G. enchrysa
2b. Forewing not ochreous; smaller; zigzag wing pattern present; uncus shallowly bilobed - G. subalba
3a. Forewing pattern consisting of numerous transverse striae of small spots of fuscous; interantennal suture reduced to a series of ridges - G. piperella
3b. Forewing pattern not spotted but either fuscous or variously marked with either well-defined or obscure streaks or bands; interantennal suture present - (4)
4a. Maxillary palpus 5-segmented; males larger than females - G. obscuromaculata
4b. Maxillary palpus with four or seldom three segments; males not larger than females - G. variata
Some adults passively pollinate larval host plants (Brown et al. 1994), then oviposit in the stem or flower. Others are non-pollinators. Most oviposit in a single host species (Davis et al. 1992). All are univoltine (Brown et al. 1994) and diurnal (Davis et al. 1992). Larvae undergo one to two instars and then leave the plant to overwinter (Pellmyr 2000). The active period of adults matches the phenology of the larval host plant (Pellmyr 2000).
Larvae eat seeds of plants in families Saxifragaceae and Umbelliferae. Species whose hosts are known are specialists on a specific plant at a site, but may feed on several plants throughout their range (Brown et al. 1994).
In Alberta, all species occur in the southern Mountain region, with most species found only in the Waterton region; primarily western in distribution, members of this genus occur from the southern Yukon south to Mexico and east to the Black Hills of South Dakota (Davis et al. 1992).
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