|scientific name Schinia verna |
common name Verna Flower Moth
Native grassland with colonies of the host plants, Antennaria sp.
Adults are on the wing late May to early June.
A small (2.1 cm. wingspan) diurnal moth with dull reddish and olive brown markings on a white forewing and a black hindwing with a broad white median band and a large square discal spot. The forewing underside is white, with several black patches and the hindwing ventral surface is almost immaculate. The very similar Eutricopis nexilis flies with it, but can be easily separated by the bright pink markings on it's underside. The closely related S. honesta has a similar pattern, but is black and white, and apparently lacks the checkered border of the forewing present in verna.
Schinia verna is another small, diurnal species. It is known from only three colonies at this time (fall 2001), at Spruce Woods Provincial Park, Manitoba, near Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and on the floodplain of the Red Deer River north of Jenner, Alberta. The life history appears to parallel that of Eutricopis nexilis, which was present and flying with verna at the Jenner colony. Like nexilis, verna larvae feed on the flowering and seed heads of Antennaria, and adults are on the wing to oviposit when Antennaria is in bud. Later instar larvae will often tie adjacent flower heads together to form a protective shelter from which they feed. They are also reported to be cannibalistic, as well as predators on E. nexilis larvae. As with nexilis, the best way to locate verna is to check colonies of Antennaria when it is in bud.
Known globally from only three colonies, on the Canadian prairies.
In Alberta, associated with Antennaria sp. In Manitoba, Antennaria aprica and A. neodioica were the hosts.
Across the aspen parkland belt and associated grasslands from southern Manitoba to southern Alberta. Apparently very local.
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