|scientific name Furcula occidentalis |
common name Willow Kitten
Deciduous and mixedwood forest and shrubland.
Adults are on the wing late April through July, depending on elevation or latitude.
A medium-size pale grey moth with a dark band and lines crossing the forewing. Very similar to and often mixed in collections with Furcula scolopendrina and F. modesta. The light areas of the forewing are pale pearl grey in occidentalis (white in scolopendrina and pale tan in modesta), and the series of fine, parallel zig-zag lines crossing the outer half of the forewing are sharper and more complete in occidentalis, but usually blurred or incomplete in scolopendrina. Specimens from the foothills and mountains may have to be dissected for positive determination. The male of occidentalis has a much shorter, stouter tip to the uncus than scolopendrina does. Both sexes are similar, but the females are larger and broader-winged, and have filiform antennae (bipectinate in males).
Specimens from the mountains are larger and darker, and have been named subspecies gigans.
The adults are nocturnal and come to light. There appears to be a single brood, which overwinters as pupae. The larvae are solitary defoliators.
A widespread and fairly common insect; no concerns.
No Alberta data. Elsewhere reported to utilize willows (Salix) and poplars (Populus), with willow the preferred host.
Maritimes west across Canada to Vancouver Island, north to southern Yukon. Found throughout the wooded areas of Alberta, from the aspen parklands north to Lake Athabasca, as well as throughout the foothills and lower elevations of the mountains. Apparently absent from the wooded valleys of the grasslands region.
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