|scientific name Oncocnemis major |
It is found in dry river valley bottoms associated with heavier soils, not in sandy areas (dunes and beaches) where it is replaced by closely related O. riparia.
A medium-size (3.5-3.8 cm wingspan) dark grey moth with few strong markings. The forewings are dark grey with some black scaling aling the veins. It can be separated from riparia by the lack of white scales filling the claviform spot (grey filled and indistinct in major) and by the black streaks surrounded by white scales in the submarginal area in riparia (absent in major).
Essentially nothing is known. The adults are nocturnal and have been collected in UV light traps. There is a single brood each year, with adults in late summer. Early stages and larval host plant(s) are unknown.
Widely distributed but uncommon in the Pacific Northwest, east to the arid river valleys in the grasslands of southern and western Alberta (?).
The Oncocnemis major-riparia “complex” is one of the most difficult and confused in the genus. Two and possibly 3 species in this group occur in Alberta, one of which appears to be major. Until the work being done on the group at present by Jim Troubridge is complete little more than this can be said. The specimens reported as members of the major complex from Waterton Lakes National Park, Taber and Writing-On-Stone (Anweiler, unpublished report) may be major or one of the other species in the major group (J. Troubridge, per. comm.). These are therefore plotted as open circles on the map.
The specimen illustrated above is from the Moths of Canada website.
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