|scientific name Pronoctua peabodyae |
dry open woodland in the mountains
A medium-size dull yellow-brown and grey-brown moth (3.5-4.2 cm wingspan). The pale cross-lines and spots do not contrast strongly with the darker ground. The hindwings are uniform grey-brown. Pronoctua species have an odd silky "sheen" (shared with Protoperigea species) that is hard to describe but once seen makes them fairly easy to recognize. Pronoctua peabodyae has darker hindwings and is darker and more contrasting than P. typica. The clasper of the male genitalia of P. peabodyae is very different from that of P. typica and Protoperigea species. See also the comments below re prairie versus mountain populations of peabodyae.
Poorly known. P. peabodyae is single-brooded, with adults in Alberta in late summer (July 31– Aug. 16 in the mountains; Aug. 11-22 in the badlands). The adults come to light. Lafontaine (1998) summarizes the larval description by Crumb (1956). The larval host(s) are apparently unknown, although the larva described by Crumb was reared on clover.
A western moth, found from southeastern Alberta and the Black Hills of South Dakota west to southeastern BC and eastern Oregon, south to New Mexico and Arizona. In Alberta peabodyae has been collected at low to mid (1300-1500m) elevations in dry open woodland in the mountains, north to Nordegg. It or a closely related undescribed species also occurs in the badlands of the Red Deer River.
Like P. typica, P. peabodyae is another drab difficult to describe noctuid moth. Although not listed by Bowman, three specimens from Nordegg were located in his collection under the name Protagrotis nichollae.
The existence of a population of Pronoctua in the Red Deer River badlands east of the mountains is surprising. Although these key out to peabodyae, genetic "bar-coding" of two specimens from each population shows they differ from each other genetically by about 2.5 and 3 percent, strongly indicating different species. The population in the mountains also flies about two weeks earlier than the one in the badlands.
Comments are published according to our submission guidelines. The EH Strickland Entomological Museum does not necessarily endorse the views expressed.