Fill o desma - contributed by Tony Thomas
Is it pronounced fill-OH-dez-ma or fill-oh-DEZ-ma? (I once thought the flower fly Eristalis was pronounced air-iss-TAL-iss until I heard it pronounced ih-RISS-tah-liss by an entomologist) -contributed by Robin McLeod
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Phyllodesma americana – (Harris, 1841)
* phylogenetic sequence #223725
Explanation of Names
PHYLLODESMA: from the Greek "phyllon" (a leaf) + "desma" (a band); refers to the leaf-mimicing shape of the wings, and perhaps the pale bands on the forewing and hindwing
one of three species in this genus in North America
Adult: scalloped outer margins of wings with white in the scallops. Resting posture with forewings held tent-like over abdomen, and hindwings sticking out horizontally is characteristic. Forewing color varies from bluish-gray to reddish to yellowish-brown; markings white and violet; anal angle with deep notch. When sitting on dead leaves, it is well camouflaged.
Larva: body with blue, black/gray, white, and orange on the back, and densely hairy lobes (lappets) along sides; top of eighth abdominal segment with unpaired hump; when stretched out or alarmed, exposes bright orange band across top of second and third thoracic segments
Nova Scotia to Georgia, west through Texas to California, north to BC and Yukon
Flight season March to September in two broods in the south; April to August in Ohio; May to July in eastern Ontario
larva present June to August
Caterpillars feed on leaves of alder, birch, oak, poplar, willow, snowbrush (Ceanothus velutinus), chinquapin (Chrysolepis chrysophylla), and members of the rose family; larvae rest longitudinally along a twig during the day, and feed at night
two generations per year in the south, one in the north; overwinters as a pupa
Covell reports it as rare to locally common; frequents city gardens among other places.(1)
with a white reniform spot on the forwing, and ranges from coastal South Carolina to Florida, west to Kentucky and Texas.
forewing has bluish-gray shading in subterminal area, and occurs in California.
specimens) "Need Genitalia or DNA. Two species, Phyllodesma americana
and P. coturnix
are sympatric in California and cannot, according to Powell & Opler(2)
, be distinguished by superficial characters." [comment
by Bob Patterson]
Powell, J. A. & P. A. Opler, Moths of Western North America, p. 234, pl. 38.6
Covell, Charles V. Jr., Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America; p. 54
Moth Photographers Group
- range map, photos of living and pinned adults.
BOLD - Barcode of Life Data Systems
- species account with collection map and photos of pinned adults.
pinned adult image
(Bruce Walsh, Moths of southeastern Arizona)
live larva image
by Jeff Fengler, plus description and season (Caterpillars of Eastern Forests; USGS)
live larva and adult images
plus description and habits (Jeremy Tatum, Butterflies and Moths of Southern Vancouver Island)
live adult images
and dates (Lynn Scott, Ontario)