Egira cognata (Smith, 1894)
WA : Grays Harbor Co.
North Bay bog; Grays Harbor, 19 ft
March 13, 1991, L. G. Crabo.
Specimen courtesy of LGCC
Photograph copyright: Merrill A. Peterson
Egira cognata is an early spring-flying medium-sized moth (FW length 14 - 16 mm) with gray mottling on an olive off-white forewing that flies in western forests. The forewing apex is slightly pointed. The ground color is whitish olive-gray, mottled and heavily dusted with dark gray. The medial terminal area is darkest dark, heaviest opposite the cell and in the fold and sparing the apex. The basal area is darker in some specimens without a distinct dash. The basal, antemedial, and postmedial lines are dark gray, double with filling of the ground color. The basal line is evident on the costa and on the mid-wing. The antemedial line is incomplete but usually evident across the wing, mildly irregular and slightly oblique from anteromedial to posterolateral. The median line is diffuse dark gray, darkest on the costa, at the lower reniform spot, and on the posterior margin. The postmedial line is incomplete lateral to the cell, strongly drawn toward the base on the costa, scalloped and oblique toward the base below the reniform spot. The subterminal line is pale, slightly irregular and forming a weak W-mark on veins M3 and CuA1. It is preceded by indistinct dark gray spots on the costa and between the veins opposite the cell and in the fold. The terminal line is a row of thin black lines between the veins. The fringe is strongly checkered light olive-gray and dark gray. The orbicular spot is round or oval, partially outlined with a gray line and filled with the ground color. The reniform spot is large, broadly kidney-shaped, outlined in gray, filled with the ground color peripherally and diffuse gray centrally and inferiorly. The claviform spot is small, dark gray, filled with the ground color. The hindwing is olive off-white with a slight sheen, evenly lightly dusted with dark gray scales, with thin gray veins that are thickened at the postmedial line, a small round discal spot, and a dark gray terminal line that is interrupted at the veins. The hindwing fringe is whitish with an off-white base. The head and thorax are grizzled light gray, darker olive anteriorly. Incomplete gray lines are present across the collar and along the lateral edges of the tegulae. A transverse ridge is present across the collar. The surface of the eye is hairy. The male antenna is asymmetric, pectinate anteriorly and serrate posteriorly.
This species can usually be told from other early spring moths by its mottled gray and light olive forewing. It is very similar to Egira februalis, a species that has a similar range but is restricted to the vicinity of oaks. It is more black and white and has a diffuse black dash at the base of the wing that E. cognata lacks.
This species is endemic to moist forests at low elevations west of the Cascades. It is particularly abundant in coastal rainforests and mixed hardwood forests, but also occurs in drier oak forests.
Egira cognata is found west of the Cascades from southwestern British Columbia to southern Oregon.
The range of this species extends south through western California to Baja California.
The only confirmed larval foodplant is Oregon white oak (Quercus garryana) in the Fagaceae. In coastal rainforests, the primary foodplant may be red alder (Alnus rubra) in the Betulaceae based upon the habitat.
Egira cognata flies during early spring, usually from mid-February through April. It is nocturnal and comes to lights.