|scientific name Oligia egens |
arid and mesic woodland edges, dunes, arid and other native grasslands
A medium-small (2.8-3.2 cm wingspan) but robust moth. The forewings are a rather complex and attractive rust-red on the basal two-thirds with some dark and light scales. The orbicular and reniform are outlined with lighter scales and partially filled with rusty orange. The distal third is light grey-white with greenish-yellow along the distal part of the light area. The area beyond the terminal line forms a narrow dark red-brown terminal band. The fringes are paler and lightly checkered with paler scales at the weins. The hindwings are sooty black, darker on the outer half beyond the faint black median line. The fringe is tipped with white. The thorax is light rusty green and the abdomen brownish-orange. The antennae are simple and the sexes are similar. Paler and more purplish forms resembling O. bridghami sometimes also occur.
Almost nothing is known. There is a single brood that flies in late summer. Adults are nocturnal and come to light. The host or hosts are apparently unknown. It has been collected in both arid and mesic woodland edges, dunes, arid and other native grasslands.
Ontario west to the Rocky Mountains, north to northern Alberta, south to the northern states in the east. Widespread in the grasslands and parklands of Alberta, local west in the mountains to Jasper National Park and in the boreal forest north to the Lake Athabasca dunes region. Holland (1903) stated this species (as Hadena transfrons Neum.) occurs in Alberta and BC, but we are unaware of any confirmed BC records.
This pretty little moth occurs throughout much of Alberta but is never common, and it is unusual to collect more than one a night. We find it in a variety of habitats, from cool deciduous edges at Wagner fen and the hayfields along the lower foothills, as well as in boreal dunes, badlands and arid valleys of grasslands. Some specimens from western Canada approach O. bridgehami in appearance and have been reported as such; however, an examination of the genitalia of such specimens has shown they are egens and not bridghami (D. Lafontaine, pers. comm.).
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