|scientific name Archiearis infans |
common name The Infant
Open wooded areas throughout the boreal and mountain region, associated with birch or alder.
Adult flight activity peaks in Alberta between mid and late April.
Forewing mottled brown with a prominent white antemedian and postmedian patch at the costal margin; the AM patch sometimes extends as a band to the anal margin. Hindwing bright rust-orange with variably developed black median and marginal bands. Black patch extending from wing base to the median area below the discal cell. Sexes similar.
Superficially similar to Dasyfidonia avuncularia, but the latter has two well-defined, continous black bands across the hindwing, not patchy and broken as in infans.
Subspecies oregonensis, described from Port Orford, OR, is larger and lighter in colour and occurs in from southern BC southward. The hindwing dark markings are more extensive in populations from the southwest mountains of Alberta.
McGuffin (1988) details the immature stages. This is one of the first non-hibernating day-flying moths to emerge in the spring, having overwintered as pupae. The early flight period is reflected in the common name; Forbes (1948) called it the First-Born Geometer. Adults have rapid flight and are difficult to capture, but occasionally sip moist sand or mud on hot days; Song Sparrows have been observed to take advantage of this behaviour to prey on the moths (Newman & Donahue 1967).
Not of concern.
Most reported larval hosts are in the Betulaceae, and include white birch (Betula papyrifera), dwarf birch (Betula glandulosa) and red alder (Alnus rubra). Because this species appears so early in the year, larvae of the European sister species A. parthenias first feed on catkins before leaves are available (Kimber 1999). A few rearings from willow and trembling aspen (Prentice 1963) may be accidental. Adults mud puddle and may visit animal dung (McGuffin 1988).
A transcontinental boreo-montane species, found from Alaska to Newfoundland south to New York and Oregon (McGuffin 1988).
Paul MacDonald (2010-03-18)
Hi on St Patricks day, March 17, 2010 I saw what I thought was this moth on the Dynamite Trail at Indian Point, Lunenburg Co. NS
The plumage looked bright and not worn. Very fast and although I hadn''t anything to catch it with - I couldn''t have. Habitat very similar to what is described.
Thanks for the good site
David Delf (2010-04-20)
On April 17th,2010 I caught a single fresh female. This happened as I was driving slowly on Forest Rd.# 13 off of the Trans Canada Hwy.towards Reynolds Ponds in Manitoba,Canada. This was apprx. 100 kms. East of Winnipeg. I was looking specifically to catch a female specimen and even prayed in detail for this to occur. On April 18th, 2007 I caught three fresh males sipping moist sand along the same gravel road. This was her fisrt flight as she landed in the centre of the road almost clumsilly and was easy to net. I was very excited especially since my fellow collector had netted his first female specimen only one year earlier on April 28th,2009 in the same area.
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