Phryganidia californica Packard, 1864

93-0138

California Oak Moth

Identification

Adults

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, 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.

Larvae

Larva is smooth with thin longitudinal stripes of purple, white, black, and green, and is illustrated by Miller & Hammond (2003).

Habitat

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.

Distribution

Pacific Northwest

Phryganidia californica is restricted to forests of the central and southern portions of western Oregon in the Pacific Northwest.

Global

This species' range extends south along the Pacific Coast to Baja California in northern Mexico.

Life History

Larvae

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.

Adults

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.

Economic Importance

This species experiences occasional outbreaks during which the larvae can completely defoliate oaks.

Literature

BugGuide

Miller & Hammond (2003)

Miller & Hammond (2007)

Moth Photographers Group

Powell & Opler (2009)