|scientific name Nycteola frigidana |
common name Frigid Midget, Frigid Owlet, Willow Leaftier
Open deciduous woodland and shrub.
Adults have been collected in Alberta in fall (August-September) and again in spring (April-May).
A small (2.2-2.5 cm wingspan) narrow-winged moth with dark-grey patterned forewings and shining dirty-white hindwings. The forewings are a mixture of dark slate grey markings over a pale grey ground. The forewing markings may be quite variable but the antemedian and postmedian lines are usually well marked, sinuous and doubled. The reniform is a gray spot with some rusty brown scaling in the pupil. The hindwing is dirty white, shading to light grey-brown towards the margin. The similar Nycteola cinereana can be separated from frigidana by its slightly larger size, pale grey color and the black scaling along the lower base of the forewings. Frigidana is most likely to be overlooked as a "micro-lepidopteran". There are also a number of similar appearing species among the Tortricidae.
The adults are on the wing in late summer and fall and again in spring, and apparently overwinter. The larvae form colonies in leaves tied together in a silk web, although individuals may be found as well. The larvae are pale green with long, fine hairs. The pupae are powdery white and characteristically truncated at one end. Adults are apparently only poorly attracted to light, and may be much commoner than light trap collections indicate.
A widespread and fairly common insect; no concerns.
The main larval host is willow (Salix sp.), although there are occasional reports of poplar (Populus sp.) as well.
Newfoundland west to Vancouver Island, north to Northwest Territories and south to the Gulf of Mexico. In Alberta it has been collected in the boreal forest north through the Peace River region to Zama, as well as throughout the Aspen parklands and foothills.
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