Lithophane jefferyi Troubridge & Lafontaine, 2003

93-2561

Identification

Adults

Lithophane jeffreyi is the most rarely collected of three similar pine-feeding Lithophane species in our region. It is medium-sized (FW length 17 - 19 mm) with dark gray pine-bark-like forewings and powdery light cupreous hindwings. The forewings has a slight notch anterior to the anal angle. It is strongly mottled charcoal gray. A thin black basal dash is present and the posterior base has a slight coppery color similar to the hindwing in color. Many of the veins on the distal wing are dark gray, most evident near the anal angle and near the lower reniform spot. The basal, antemedial, and postmedial lines are dark gray to black, double filled with powdery light gray, strongly toothed and zigzagged. The antemedial and postmedial lines are strongly toothed toward each other in the fold with the tips touching at the black median line. The subterminal line is black, irregular with a weak W-mark on the mid-wing, preceded by lighter gray. The terminal line is a series of black wedges. The fringe is checkered light and dark gray. The orbicular and reniform spots are partially outlined in black outer and light inner lines and are partially fused posteriorly. The orbicular spot is oval, best defined medially, filled with powdery light gray to the ground color. The reniform spot is broad and weakly hourglass-shaped, poorly defined medially, filled with dark gray black along the cubital vein which runs through the lower spot and continues black across the adjacent subterminal area. A claviform spot is not evident. The hindwing is whitish with a coppery sheen, strongly powdered with gray that is condensed into a weak submarginal band, with dark gray small discal spot, veins, and terminal line. The fringe is whitish with powdery gray scales. The head and thorax are charcoal gray with light gray lines across the head, distal, collar and lateral tegulae. They are strongly sculpted with ridges and tufts, adding to the bark-like appearance of the moth. The male antenna is weakly biserrate.

This species can be recognized as a member of the Lithophane lepida species-group by its bark-like forewing and pale coppery hindwing. It is similar to the other Northwest members of this species-group, Lithophane atara and Lithophane ponderosa, which are more widespread and common in our region. It has a more contrasting light and dark gray pattern on the forewing than either of these species and its hindwing is paler, more powdery, and faintly copper-colored rather than pink.

Habitat

This species is narrowly endemic to dry Jeffrey pine forests growing on serpentine soils at low to high elevations.  It is usually rare.

Distribution

Pacific Northwest

Lithophane jeffreyi is restricted to the Siskiyou Mountains in southwestern Oregon in the Pacific Northwest.

Global

The range of this species extends south to the northern Sierra Nevada in California and western Nevada as well as the mountains of southwestern California.

Life History

Larvae

This species appears to be a foodplant specialist feeding on Jeffrey pine (Pinus jeffreyi) in the Pinaceae.  Larvae may also be partly carnivorous, feeding on insects and other caterpillars.

Adults

This species emerges from the cocoon in the fall and overwinters prior to mating. The type series was collected in September and from late April to mid-June. This species is nocturnal and comes to lights.

Economic Importance

None.

Literature

Lafontaine & Troubridge (2004)

Moth Photographers Group