|scientific name Eutricopis nexilis |
common name White-spotted Midget
Open xeric prairie meadows, pastures and hillsides where Pussytoes (Antennaria) are present.
Late May-July depending on elevation (whenever the host Antennaria is in late bud to bloom).
A very small (1.8-2.0 cm. wingspan ) moth with red-brown or maroon, grey and white forewing and a black hindwing with 2 large creamy white spots. The fringe is white except near the forewing apex, and against a pale background this gives the forewing a pointed look. The ventral surface is mainly cream-colored, with black and bright rose patches. Similar to Schinia persimilis, but nexilis has 2 and persimilis 3 pale spots on the hindwing, and persimilis lacks the pink on the ventral surface that is so prominent in nexilis. Schinia vernilis, which has been taken with nexilis, also lacks pink on the ventral surface. Some specimens from the mountains are almost entirely black and white dorsally, with reduced pale spots. Schinia honesta, another black and white mountain species, is larger and also lacks pink on the ventral surface.
The White-spotted Midget is strictly diurnal. It is rarely encountered except by searching patches of the foodplant when it is in flower or bud. The moths have a fast, buzzing flight and resemble bees more than moths. The colorful underside of the wings greatly resembles the buds in some species of the host plants. Eggs are laid in the flowers or flower buds, with the larvae feeding on the flowering parts.
Fairly widespread and locally common. No conservation concerns.
Flowers and developing seeds of Pussytoes (Antennaria sp.). In Alberta it is found associated with a number of species of Antennaria.
From Nova Scotia and New England west across southern Canada to southern Vancouver Island, north to Yukon and south in the mountains to California and Colorado, and from almost sea-level to over 3000 m. elevation. In Alberta, found throughout the grasslands and Aspen parklands region, as well as in the mountains.
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