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NW Yosemite Fairy Moths - Adela eldorada - female

NW Yosemite Fairy Moths - Adela eldorada - Female
Between Mather and Hetch Hetchy Dam, Yosemite National Park, Tuolumne County, California, USA
May 22, 2011
Found perched on grass in a complex of flowery terraced meadows at ~4300' elevation, high on the south wall of the canyon of the Tuolumne River, southwest of Hetch Hetchy Dam. The meadows were nestled amidst rocky benches supporting vegetation of chaparral with scattered oak and pine.

This can be seen to be a female from the relatively small eyes (diameter clearly less than the distance between the eyes at the top of the head); relatively short antennae (about 1.5 times forewing length); and the conspicuously bright orange scales covering the entire head. Note that the orange on the head is brighter than the dull orange of the male's heads seen in the posts below from the same population:


Note also that the apical white band is broken on the female and the first male above, while the apical white band is unbroken in the second male. Powell(1) found that 70% of the males, and 45% of the females, had broken apical white bands in his sampling of A. eldorada.

Note, furthermore, that in all these individuals the white bands are relatively wide compared to typical A. trigrapha...though, to my eye, the intervals of variation in the band widths within each species seems to overlap between the two.

Finally, Powell(1) describes the forewings of female A. eldorada as having "ground color dark metallic green"; whereas the forewings of males have "ground color black". That seems to fit the three individuals from this population seen in these photos.