Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
original combination Cataclysta bifascialis
Robinson, 1869 (description
* phylogenetic sequence # 143975
Explanation of Names
BIFASCIALIS: from "bi" (two) + "fascia" (band, bundle); refers to the bands across the median area of both wings, and is the origin of the suggested common name above
FW whitish with broad brownish-orange band across median area, and 3 smaller bands at varying angles near apex; HW white with broad orange AM band, a bold black spot in the middle, and a line of large black spots along outer margin. See Heppner's description(3)
Peppery white FW with double brown median band and three angled dashes at apex. HW has row of black and silver spots along outer margin (2)
The oblong black discal spot on the HW is the most conspicuous field mark when the HWs are visible. When the HWs are not visible, identification can be a little trickier. In Texas and Oklahoma, Petrophila cappsi is very similar but has an open dark loop on the HW in place of the solid black oval; Capps' Petrophila is less likely to show a small dark discal dot on the FW at the upper end of the orange tornal bar, but this is variable.
Much of eastern North America: Nova Scotia to Ontario and Minnesota, south to Virginia, Tennessee, and Arkansas (sparse); common but seemingly disjunct population in Oklahoma, Texas, and northeast Mexico (iNaturalist).
The SCAN database
shows records from Alabama and Mississippi but the species is apparently sparse to absent in most of the Southeast.
Larvae are aquatic, living in silken webs in fast-flowing streams.(4)
Adults rest on nearby vegetation during the day, become active at night, and are attracted to light..
Adults fly from late May to September.
Larvae feed on diatoms and algae scraped from rocks in fast-flowing streams.(1)(4)
As with most species in the genus Petrophila, females tend to have proportionally longer narrower wings than males. When perched, males tend to hold there wings open more often than females, revealing the diagnostic HW pattern.
in Texas and Oklahoma, has an open loop on HW instead of solid dark spot. FW usually lacks a dark discal dot.
has 3 dark spots arranged in triangle on FW, dark speckling in the middle of HW and a thin dark line over the eyespots.
: like P. fulicalis
but FW has open whitish loops in postmedian area.
pinned adult image
by John Glaser, plus flight season and distribution (Larry Line, Maryland)
pinned adult image
and photos of related species by Jim Vargo (Moth Photographers Group)
presence in Florida; list
(John Heppner, Florida State Collection of Arthropods)
presence in Ontario; list
(NHIC; Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources)