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Species Korscheltellus gracilis - Conifer Swift Moth - Hodges#0031

Fluttering moth - Korscheltellus gracilis Moth - Korscheltellus gracilis Unknown Moth - Korscheltellus gracilis Unknown Moth - Korscheltellus gracilis 0031 Conifer Swift Moth #1 - Korscheltellus gracilis 0031 Conifer Swift Moth #3 - Korscheltellus gracilis 0031 Conifer Swift Moth 5 - Korscheltellus gracilis Conifer Swift Moth - Korscheltellus gracilis
Show images of: caterpillars · adults · both
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths)
No Taxon (Moths)
Superfamily Hepialoidea
Family Hepialidae (Ghost Moths)
Genus Korscheltellus
Species gracilis (Conifer Swift Moth - Hodges#0031)
Hodges Number
0031
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Hepialus gracilis Grote 1865, H. mustelinus Packard 1865, H. labradroiensis Packard 1865, and H. furcatus Grote 1883 were transferred to Korscheltellus and synonymized by Wagner 1988.
Size
wingspan 34-41 mm; female larger than male
Identification
Adult: forewing mottled light and dark brownish-gray, with the lighter area forming a large irregular gray stripe angling from base of wing to inner margin, then diagonally to apex; median and subterminal areas darker gray, mixed with paler blotches; hindwing brownish-gray, unmarked; fringes on all wings checkered; antennae in both sexes very small, hair-like
Range
eastern two-thirds of Canada and northeastern United States: Newfoundland to Alberta, south to Minnesota and New England, and in the Appalachians to Tennessee and North Carolina
Habitat
coniferous and mixed forests; adults are nocturnal and occasionally come to light
Season
adults fly from May to July
Food
larvae feed on the roots of trees, including seedlings, of primarily Balsam Fir (Abies balsamea) and Red Spruce (Picea rubens); also reported to feed on roots of White Spruce (Picea glauca), birch (Betula spp.), Trembling Aspen (Populus tremuloides), and ferns (Dryopteris spp. and Athyrium filix-femina)
Remarks
The sex pheromone of this species is released from the female's hindwings. See article abstract by Kuenen et al in Internet References section below.
The wasp Ichneumon feralis(1) is believed to be a parasitoid of this species (listed under the name Hepialus mustelinus).(2)
See Also
Common Swift Moth (K. lupulina) is yellowish-brown to orangish, forewing has highly-contrasting whitish ribbon-like marking, and in North America is currently known only from southern Ontario
species of Sthenopis are much larger and have different markings on forewing (compare images of 3 species at Canadian Forest Service)
Print References
David L. Wagner, "Taxonomic Status of Korscheltellus Börner in North America (Lepidoptera: Hepialidae)", Journal of the New York Entomological Society 96:345-354 (1988)
Internet References
pinned adult images of male and female (Canadian Forest Service)
pinned adult image plus common name reference, habitat, flight season, description, foodplants, distribution (Strickland Entomological Museum, U. of Alberta)
adult images (Jonathan Leonard, U. of Vermont)
pinned adult images and collection site map (All-Leps)
larval foodplants and distribution map (Buffalo Museum of Science, sciencebuff.org)
abstract of pheromone article (L.P.S. Kuenen et al, Canadian Entomologist, courtesy trophort.com)