|scientific name Marathyssa inficita |
common name Dark Marathyssa
They occur in dry and shrubby grassland on valley slopes.
The three Alberta specimens were collected in mid June.
A relatively small (2.5-2.8 cm. wingspan) long-winged moth. The forewings are blue-grey with dark streaking and maroon near the base and apex. The antemedian and postmedian lines are partially marked by doubled narrow dark lines, and a small black dot marks the reniform. The hindwings are overlain with dark maroon, particularly on the outer half, and there is a diffuse discal patch and a blackish patch at the anal margin. The fringe on both wings is grey broken by dark patches, giving the wings an uneven, angular appearance. The wings are folded up and held perpendicular to the body when at rest, and at such times they are reminiscent of large, dark plume-moths (Pterophoridae).
Poorly known, in Alberta apparently single-brooded and nocturnal. The three Alberta specimens were collected in mid June.
No Alberta hostplant data; elsewhere reported to feed on Staghorn sumac (Rhus hirta) and Poison ivy (Rhus radicans). In Alberta the likely host is poison ivy or possibly skunkbush (Rhus trilobata).
Widespread in eastern North America, west across southern Canada to southern BC. In Alberta inficita has been collected in the Milk, Oldman and South Saskatchewan River drainages.
This odd little moth has only recently been added to the Alberta list. The only specimen I have seen personally was one that showed up in our traps in the magnificent habitat on the south-facing slopes of the South Saskatchewan River south of Bindloss. The slopes here are a mix of clay and shale outcrops, unbroken and lightly grazed native prairie on the benches and gentler slopes, and series of sandstone outcrops lower down. In the trap, with its wings rolled and held at nearly right angles to the body, I thought it was an odd microlepidopteran. Dave Lawrie, who has collected it in the eastern USA, recognized it immediately.
Comments are published according to our submission guidelines. The EH Strickland Entomological Museum does not necessarily endorse the views expressed.