Protogygia enalaga McDunnough, 1932
OR : Lake Co.
Alkali L., 4343 ft
June 02, 2002, Crabo/Troubridge.
Specimen courtesy of LGCC
Photograph copyright: Merrill A. Peterson
Protogygia enalaga is one of four streaky gray to brown Protogygia species with fused forewing orbicular and reniform spots. These are difficult to identify by appearance, but can usually be sorted by combination of subtle features of the maculation and flight period. Protogygia is a medium-sized moth (FW length 17 - 20 mm). The ground color is light brown-gray, nearly pure gray at the costa and slightly darker near the margin opposite the cell and in the fold. The transverse lines are nearly lacking; only the postmedial line is evident near the costa as well as on the veins in some individuals. A thin, black, basal dash is present. The very long orbicular spot is fused to the thin arrowhead-shaped reniform spot. Both are pale gray with filling of the darker ground color. The hindwing is white with a pale gray discal spot, thin gray lines on some of the veins, and at the terminal line in males; those of females are slightly darker at the margin and on the veins. The top of the head is light brown gray. The base of the collar is silver gray, separated from the brown-gray tip by a thin black transverse line. The remainder of the thorax is gray tan with gray at the margins of the tegulae. The male antenna is filiform with weak fasciculations.
This species can be distinguished from Protogygia lagena by smaller size, finer forewing markings, lack of dark wedges between the veins near the wing margin, and lighter hindwings in females. It is streakier, grayer, and larger than Protogygia postera which also tends to fly later in the summer. The most similar species to P. enalaga is Protogygia comstocki, a powdery or hoary gray species that is more restricted to sandy environments. Protogygia enalaga is smoother and browner than this species which has a better defined postmedial line in most individuals. The basal dash of P. enalaga is longer, usually reaching the expected position of the antemedial line whereas that of P. comstocki is evident only at the forewing base.
The early stages are unknown.
This species is widely distributed in dry desert habitats throughout much of western North America. In the Pacific Northwest, it is usually uncommon to rare in relatively moist sagebrush steppe or juniper woodlands at middle to low elevations east of the Cascades. However, it is common to abundant in the very dry sagebrush steppe of southeastern Oregon at low elevations, and epidemic outbreaks have been observed in the more disturbed rangelands of southern Harney County, Oregon.
Protogygia enalaga is found in the Columbia Basin and throughout much of eastern Oregon in the Pacific Northwest.
This species is found in the Intermountain West and California south of our region and in badlands habitats in southern Alberta and Saskatchewan further east.
No information is presently available regarding larval foodplants of this species.
The adults are single brooded and usually fly during late spring and early summer at the same time as Protogygia lagena. Pacific Northwest records span late April to mid-July but are most common in May. It is nocturnal and comes to light.
Lafontaine & Fauske (2004)