Ponometia nigra (Mustelin, 2006)
CA : Ventura Co.
Tapo Cyn, Santa Susana Mts
April 19, 1939, Martin Cell.
Specimen courtesy of Tomas Mustelin
Photograph copyright: Merrill A. Peterson
Ponometia nigra is a very small nearly black moth (FW length 7 mm; Wingspan: 16.1 ± 0.8 mm ( range 14.5 – 17.5 mm (N=13)) that is restricted to south-central Oregon in our region. It is one of our smallest noctuids. The dorsal forewing is very dark gray with a slight greenish sheen, and lacks any pattern. The hindwing is dark brown, including the fringe. The head and body match the forewing. The male antenna is filiform.
This species can only be confused with Ponometia fumata in our region. The relationship of these species is currently unclear in the Northwest. Ponometia fumata was considered to be a subspecies of Ponometia tortricina when P. nigra was described but was subsequently recognized as a distinct species by Poole (nearctica.com website).
In southern California, this species has been found in coastal chaparral, by roadsides, and on sunlit trails. No information is presently available regarding habitats of this species in the Pacific Northwest.
The range of this species as described in the original description includes Oregon and Idaho.
Known from Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, and California based on the original description. Poole (nearctica.com) gives the range as southern and central California based on material in the USNM.
No information is presently available regarding larval foodplants of this species, but it may feed on Malvaceae based on related species.
Ponometia nigra has been collected in the spring (April), during the summer (July and August), and in the fall (October) in California. The time of occurrence in the Pacific Northwest is not well known. This species is a day flier and comes to black light at night.