Grammia virgo (Linnaeus, 1758)
Virgin Tiger Moth
Grammia virgo is a relatively large (FW length 20–27 mm) white, black, and red moth that is restricted to the eastern parts of our region. The forewing is black with prominent off-white veins and postmedial and subterminal region transverse lines. The hindwing is bright orange-red with pale rimmed black spots medial to the discal spot in addition to in the marginal region. A patchy marginal band is also present. As in other Grammia species the fringe is pale, the thorax appears longitudinaly streaked black and white, and the abdomen is lined red and black. The male antenna is black, bipectinate.
Grammia virgo is closest in appearance to Grammia parthenice, a slightly smaller species. Grammia parthenice lacks the hindwing spot medial to the discal spot that is found in G. virgo and has a pale transverse line across the cell that is lacking in G. virgo. Grammia virgo also resembles Grammia doris, but this species has an extra pale line in the cell that G. virgo lacks and its hindwing is pink.
This is a relatively common eastern species that barely enters the Pacific Northwest in the Rocky Mountain region. It usually occurs in open moist meadow habitats and in open hardwood forests further east.
Grammia virgo is found only in extreme eastern British Columbia in our region, both in the southeastern corner of the province and in the Peace River region. A record from southern Vancouver Island might be an error.
This species is common and widespread in temperate eastern North America where it occurs from the Gaspe Peninsula of Quebec south to northern Florida. The range extends west in a roughly triangular distribution to Alberta where it occurs widely except in the far northern part of the province.
This species feeds on various herbaceous vegetation, particularly Asteraceae and Fabaceae.
This species has been collected in late spring and July in our region. According to Schmidt (2009) it usually peaks two to three weeks earlier than G. parthenice, but fresh specimens of these species have been collected together in the Peace River District, British Columbia. Grammia virgo is nocturnal and comes to lights.