Tolype laricis (Fitch, 1856)

MONA 7673

Larch Tolype Moth

Identification

Adults

Tolype laricis is a small to medium size moth (FW length 11–12 mm in males; 16 mm in females) with smoky blackish gray wings with rounded margins that flies in British Columbia during the fall. The forewings of males are dark gray with slightly irregular light gray transverse lines. The antemedial and postmedial lines are double, oriented nearly perpendicular to the trailing margin. The subterminal line is nearly parallel to the outer margin, drawn slightly basad opposite the cell and on the veins near the anal angle. The fringe is dark gray, with a thin light gray terminal line at the base. No spots are present. The hindwing is black. The head, collar and tegulae and the tip of the abdomen vary from charcoal gray to pale whitish, with a patch of curly metallic scales on the central thorax. Females (not shown) are larger and much paler than the males with pale brownish gray wings marked with pale veins and whitish lines. The antennae of both sexes are bipectinate, much broader in males than in females.

This species can be identified by its small size, fall flight period, and blackish gray color with paler transverse lines but no spots. It is only likely to be confused with Tolype distincta which also has a patch of unusual thoracic scales. Males of T. laricis are easily identified by their small size and swarthy color. Females of T. laricis are smaller than those of T. distincta and have a brown tint, but are best identified by association with the males.

Habitat

This species occurs in northern wet or boggy coniferous forests with larch.

Distribution

Pacific Northwest

Tolype laricis has been found in central British Columbia as far south as Vernon in the northern Okanagan region. The range of this species is described as extending west to eastern British Columbia by Franclemont (l973) but no specific records were cited in this work.

Global

This species ranges across boreal North America from Nova Scotia to British Columbia. It occurs south to South Carolina in the East and the southern Great Lakes region in the Midwest.

Life History

Larvae

This species is a foodplant specialist feeding on various conifers such as larch (Larix spp.) in the Pinaceae.

Adults

Tolype laricis is single brooded with adults on the wing from late July through the fall.  The exact flight period is unknown because only literature records were examined for this site.  It has a strong buzzing flight typical of the family Lasiocampidae and does not feed as an adult.  Tolype laricis is nocturnal and is attracted strongly to light.

Economic Importance

None.

Literature

BugGuide

Covell (1984)

Franclemont (1973)

Moth Photographers Group