|scientific name Lambdina fiscellaria |
common name Mournful Thorn, Hemlock Looper
Mixedwood and coniferous forest.
Adults fly in Alberta in early fall, usually from late August to late September.
A thinly scaled mid-sized geometrid, antennae with very long pectinations resulting in conspicuously feathery antenae. Ground colour varies from tan to brown, AM and PM lines dark, the latter bordered distally with orange-brown. Discal spots obscure.
Similar to Besma, but Lambdina fiscellaria lacks the scalloped subterminal line of Besma, and flies in the fall, not in early summer.
Three subspecies have been recognized: fiscellaria, lugubrosa (Hulst) and somniaria (Hulst) based on geographic affinities and host plant differences. However genetic evidence does not clearly support recognition of these subspecies, and L. fiscellaria appears to be a single, highly adaptable species (Sperling et al. 1999).
The larva (Hemlock Looper) is grey with various intricate longitudinal stripes and small black spots. Young larvae eat only new foliage, mature larvae eat older foliage (Wagner et al. 2001). Eggs overwinter on tree trunks, laid on bark lichens or moss.
The Hemlock Looper is an important forest pest, and can cause severe defoliation of conifers. Numerous outbreaks have been recorded in BC (Duncan 2003). For more information on the economics and management of this species see Duncan (2003) and references in McGuffin (1987).
Not of concern.
Larvae are generalists on conifers, but also occasionally feed on deciduous trees such as aspen (Populus) and willow (Salix). Favoured hosts are balsam fir (Abies balsamifera), spruce (Picea sp.), and tamarack (Larix)(Prentice 1963).
Widespread from the Pacific to Atlantic coast, south to PE, WI and CA (McGuffin 1987).
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