|scientific name Photedes defecta |
common name Narrow-winged Borer
It is associated with wetlands including fens, wet meadows, sedge meadows and wetland edges.
A small (approx. 2.5 cm wingspan) rather delicately built moth. Forewing color may vary from a rich deep yellow-brown to light tan, with the veins outlined in lighter tan scales, giving it a very streaky appearance. The most prominent marking is the darker brown shade forming a streak above and adjacent to the cubital vein and continuing on to the margin. There is a small dark dot with a partial white margin at the end of the cell. The antemedian line is indicated by a few small dark dots at the veins. The dots marking the postmedian line are doubled and more numerous, and there is a dark terminal line made up of dark dots or short dashes. The hindwings are similar but paler, with a narrow poorly defined grey median band and discal mark. The overall color varies somewhat, with some specimens being dark brown or almost melanic. Antennae are simple and the sexes are similar. Similar to but smaller and more slender-bodied than Leucania and Mythimna species.
The adults are nocturnal and are attracted to light Adults have been collected from late July through late September, and the data suggest a main flight in early-mid August with a smaller and possibly second brood in mid-late September. The larvae are most likely borers in the stems of one or more wetland plants.
Photedes defecta is listed as a rare species of conservation concern in some of the Midwestern states like Illinois, where it occurs in wet remnant prairie.
Maryland and Massachusetts north to New Brunswick, west to North Dakota and BC. In Alberta it has been collected mainly in the aspen parklands and boreal forest, although Bowman also reported it from the Calgary and Medicine Hat regions.
Photedes defecta appears to be a rather rare or possibly local moth, and I have never personally collected one. It is not uncommon at Wagner Fen, just west of Edmonton. Its light yellow brown streaky appearance suggests it is adapted to habitats with an abundance of dead grasses or sedges, such as are present around wetlands and marshes. With its rather delicate build and slender body it resembles a species of Spartiniphaga rather than the other chunky, robust Photedes species.
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