Phryganidia californica Packard, 1864
California Oak Moth
CA : Alameda Co.
Berkeley, 179 ft
September 25, 1969, JH Shepard.
Specimen courtesy of LGCC
Photograph copyright: Merrill A. Peterson
Phryganidia californica is a plain, day-flying, prominent moth found in forests of western Oregon in our region. It is moderate-sized (FW length 15–16 mm.) with uniform plain pale grayish tan forewings and a lighter pale yellow area distal to the end of the cell in males, lacking all markings other than dark veins. The long dark antennae are bipectinate, widest in males.
No other Pacific Northwest moth has plain tan wings marked only on the veins.
Larva is smooth with thin longitudinal stripes of purple, white, black, and green, and is illustrated by Miller & Hammond (2003).
This species is common to abundant in mixed hardwood-conifer forests of the Cascades, Coast Range, and Siskiyou Mountains of western Oregon, primarily at middle to higher elevations in the mountains.
Phryganidia californica is restricted to forests of the central and southern portions of western Oregon in the Pacific Northwest.
This species' range extends south along the Pacific Coast to Baja California in northern Mexico.
This species is a foodplant specialist feeding on evergreen Fagaceae, including canyon live oak (Quercus chrysolepis), tan oak (Lithocarpus densiflorus), and golden chinquapin (Castanopsis chrysophylla) in Oregon.
The adults are primarily diurnal, although Powell & Opler (2009) report that it occasionally comes to light. Several broods occur in California. Pacific Northwest collecting dates range from late June to mid September.
This species experiences occasional outbreaks during which the larvae can completely defoliate oaks.
Miller & Hammond (2003)
Miller & Hammond (2007)
Powell & Opler (2009)