|scientific name Eulithis gracilineata |
common name Greater Grape-vine Looper
It occurs in urban areas and hardwood forest.
A medium-size (35-4.0 cm wingspan) light ochre-yellow moth with broad slightly falcate forewings. Forewings crossed by several narrow rusty-orange lines, the outer two drawn sharply out into a point almost to margin, with darker yellow-orange scaling in area where the two lines meet. Prominent dark discal dot. Hindwings lighter straw yellow, with fragments of dark rust-orange lines near margin in anal area. Antennae simple or nearly so. Sexes similar. The illustrated adult is the specimen from Calgary. Very similar to Eulithis. diversilineata, which averages smaller and has differences in the genitalia and larva, and has small or obsolete discal dots.
Adults are nocturnal. Like other Eulithis sp., when at rest they curl the abdomen upward and forward over the thorax, breaking up their otherwise moth-like image. The larvae are brown and twig-like, and feed on grapevines (Vitis sp.) and Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus sp.) neither of which occur naturally in Alberta. Handfield (1999) also lists Epilobium as a host, without further details. The Edmonton specimen was collected on July 23, 1915, the Calgary specimen on August 10, 1919.
The Greater Grapevine Looper is primarily an eastern hardwood forest moth, found from eastern Canada south to FL. It has also been collected west to SK and central AB, where it is rare or accidental.
There are only three old and enigmatic records of this species for Alberta, a specimen in the Bowman collection collected in Edmonton in 1915, and a specimen in the CNCI from Sunnydale (Lloydminster) from the 1940's. In Bowman's list, where he listed these as E. diversilineata Hbn., he gives Calgary and Lloydminster as localities for gracilineata, but does not list Edmonton. It is possible that these may have arrived with introduced Virginia creeper plants, as the normal host plants do not occur naturally in Alberta and the moth is not a strong long-distance flier, or as suggested by Handfield, they may also use a native Epilobium sp. as a host.
Very similar to E. diversilineata, and identification should be confirmed through dissection. Handfield (op cit.) states the valve in male gracilineata males is keel-shaped, and oblong in diversilineata (illustrated in Handfield 1999: 89). However Schmidt (pers. comm.) states this is not a very useful character, but has found good characters in the female genitalia.
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