Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Platyedra subcinerea (Haworth, 1828)
Recurvaria subcinerea, Gelechia vilella, Platyedra argillosella, Gelechia bathrosticta
The only species of Platyedra
found in America north of Mexico. (1)
Forewing length 7.5-9 mm(2)
8 to 9 mm long. Wingspan 14 to 18 mm.
Specimen identified by DNA analysis (BOLD). (3)
Head: Tan, not speckled. Eyes fairly large. Palpi very long (to top of head), second joint thickened and expanded on underside with rough scales. End joint long, tip whitish.
Antenna: Scape (base) has long scales (pecten) on upper side, similar but smaller than an eye-cap. Segments are long, to mid wing and appear striped light and dark brown.
Thorax: Tan, not speckled; has an extended U-shape center lower edge.
Forewings: Long, tan, speckled; longitudinal series of ‘dot–streak-dot’ through middle of wing starting at each side indent of U-shaped thorax. Dots usually surrounded by a lighter, not speckled patch. Last dot may be double. Wing tips darker, slightly rounded. Fringe mixed light and dark; progressively longer to outer angle.
Hindwings: Hindwings very pale grey. Fringe light brown.
Legs: Light brown, somewhat spotted. Feet have white rings. Long spines on mid leg.
Abdomen: Abdomen flattened.
Introduced Old World species that has been in New England for 50+ years and was recently introduced to California in about 1990. (4)
Wet meadows, marshes and gardens.
Adults are most common from February to September.
May to June in north. Larva present in June and July.
Larval hosts include: (2)
Alcaea rosea (hollyhock) in New England.
Malva parviflora (cheeseweed) in California.
Muskmallow, cotton and others in Malva family. Also Mallow Tree (a perennial) Lavatera thuringiacea and Nettles Urtica in Europe.
Larva: Pinkish with large brownish spots. Head and neck black. Feed in seeds of host plants, bending sepals down to hide the seed. Adults overwinter in thatch and reappear in spring. Attracted to lights. One generation in north, more in south.
Holotype as Recurvaria subcinerea by Haworth, 1828. Locality: Europe
Holotype as Gelechia vilella by Meyrick, 1895. Locality: Britain, Europe and Africa.
Holotype as Platyedra argillosella by Herrich-Schaffer, 1855. Locality: unknown
Holotype as Gelechia bathrosticta male by Meyrick, 1936. Locality: Iraq. In British Museum.
Compare on the pinned plates of Moth Photographers Group
Powell, J. A. & P. A. Opler 2009. Moths of Western North America, p. 103, pl. 10.41. (2)
A Handbook of British Lepidoptera by Edward Meyrick, 1895, pg. 605.
Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington, 1919, Vol. 21 #4: Generic Synonomy Gelechiidae by Busck, pg. 94.
Exotic Microlepidoptera, 1936, Vol. 5 by Edward Meyrick, pg. 43.