Proxenus mendosa MuDunnough, 1927
N Ogilvie Mtns, Dempster Hwy km 149 to 153. Roadside E Windy Pass, 950 ft
June 10, 1989, LG Crabo.
Specimen courtesy of LGCC
Photograph copyright: Merrill A. Peterson
Proxenus mendosa is a small (FW length 11 - 13 mm) very plain gray moth with white markings at the reniform spot as the only marking on the forewing that occurs in southeastern British Columbia in our region. The forewing is even medium-dark gray, slightly darker on the distal portion beyond the expected position of the postmedial line and at the base medial to the position of the antemedial line. The reniform spot constitutes the only identifiable forewing marking. It is a faint dark bar followed laterally by a creamy pale spot. The hindwing is dusky light gray, darker toward the margin, with gray discal spot and veins, and a slightly lighter gray fringe. The head and thorax match the forewing in color. The male antenna is filiform.
This species can be identified by its very plain gray appearance on both wings. It is most similar to Proxenus mindara which lives in dry sage steppe habitats further south. Proxenus mindara has a punctate black orbicular spot that P. mendosa lacks and its hindwing is paler white with less marginal shading than that of P. mendosa. It is more likely to be collected with Proxenus miranda, but this species is much darker blackish gray than P. mendosa.
No information is presently available regarding habitats of this species in the Pacific Northwest. It probably occurs in wet habitats with willows, the habitat in Wisconsin (Les Ferge, personal communication). A series of this species was collected in a rocky creek bed in the Ogilvie Mountains of central Yukon Territory by Lars Crabo.
Proxenus mendosa has been collected in southeastern British Columbia in our region. It is most likely distributed widely in the eastern and northern parts of the Province.
This species is found across the boreal zone of Canada as far east as the Gaspe´ Peninsula of Quebec (Handfield 1999). It occurs as far south as northern Wisconsin (L. Ferge personal communication). This species also occurs in Alberta and as far north as central Yukon Territory.
No information is presently available regarding larval foodplants of this species, but it probably feeds on herbaceous plants like related species. Willow (Salix spp.) in the Salicaceae is another possible foodplant based on habitat preference.
Little is known about the biology of this species in our area. Specimens from Yukon Territory were collected in mid-June flying at dusk in a dry creek bed. This species is at least partially nocturnal and comes to lights.