Lithophane gausapata Grote, 1883

93-2564

Identification

Adults

Lithophane gausapata is a smooth gray and reddish brown medium-sized moth (FW length 18 mm) with a black median dash, a rusty red reniform spot with black posterior outline, and a pink hindwing that flies near incense cedars (Calocedrus decurrens) in western Oregon. The forewing is elongate with a slightly pointed apex and a slightly concave outer margin above the anal angle. It is smooth medium-dark gray with a slight reddish tint that is strongest near the base. A dark gray median bar is present in the fold. The irregular transverse lines are gray but very faint, evident mostly as dark marks on the costa. A gray-brown median line is usually evident near the margins. The orbicular spot is barely evident gray, thin, oval. The outline of the reniform spot is obscure except for the thick gray posterior end. It is filled with rusty red and a gray spot at the lower end. The posterior claviform spot is a component of the median bar; the anterior aspect is absent. The hindwing and fringe are pink with light gray suffusion and slightly darker gray discal spot, veins, and terminal line. The head and thorax are similar to the forewing with a thin black line across the top of the collar. The thorax appears sculpted with a strong anterior tuft. The male antenna is bead-like.

Lithophane gausapata can be identified by its elongate gray forewing with rusty tint and filling of the reniform spot. It belongs to the juniper and cedar-feeding Lithophane lemmeri species-group. The other Pacific Northwest species in this group are gray without reddish color on either wing.

Habitat

This is a relatively rare species endemic to dry forests of mixed hardwoods and conifers with incense cedars and is found at low to middle elevations.  This species is considered to be management sensitive, depending on cedars as a larval foodplant.

Distribution

Pacific Northwest

Lithophane gausapata occurs in the Cascade Range and Siskiyou Mountains of western Oregon in association with incense cedar.

Global

The range of this species extends south into California where it occurs in the northern Cascades, Sierra Nevada, and mountains of the southwestern part of the state.

Life History

Larvae

This species is a foodplant specialist feeding on incense cedar (Calocedrus decurrens) in the Cupressaceae.  Larvae may be partly carnivorous as well, feeding on insects and other caterpillars.

Adults

This species emerges in the fall and overwinters before flying again in the spring. It is nocturnal and comes to lights.

Economic Importance

None.

Literature

Miller & Hammond (2003)

Miller & Hammond (2007)

Moth Photographers Group