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Genus Cisthene

unknown Moth - Cisthene liberomacula unknown RI Natural Heritage Survey Bio BLitz - Cisthene packardii Moth 5 - Cisthene angelus Cisthene packardii  - Cisthene packardii 8069  - Cisthene perrosea Angel Lichen Moth & Velvet Ant Encounter - Cisthene angelus Cisthene unifascia Cisthene subjecta? - Cisthene subjecta
Show images of: caterpillars · adults · both
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths)
Superfamily Noctuoidea (Owlet Moths and kin)
Family Erebidae
Subfamily Arctiinae (Tiger and Lichen Moths)
Tribe Lithosiini (Lichen Moths)
Subtribe Cisthenina
Genus Cisthene
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Cisthene Walker, 1854
The genus Cisthene includes 20 described species listed for America, north of Mexico. (1)(2)(3)
Wingspan 15-21 mm
Small, day-flying, brightly-colored moths. See this Key to Texas species of Cisthene on iNaturalist for the newest information on identification in the field and from photos. See also Sexton & McGuinness in print materials.(3)
***Note: Several images on Moth Photographer's Group remain misplaced, particularly on the pages for the widely misunderstood Cisthene unifascia, C. tenuifascia, and C. subrufa.
larval hosts are algae and lichens, adults take nectar.
Life Cycle
Adults, at least partly, day-flying. Larvae feed on lichens and overwinter on tree trunks. Pupation in modest cocoon in crevices among lichens (4)
Cisthene and other Lithosiine larvae are frass shooters that fire their fecal pellets up to 20 times the length of their bodies.(4)
See Also
Other lichen moths, such as Hypoprepia.
Print References
Covell, pp. 60-61, plate 12. (5)
Knowlton, C.B., 1967. A revision of the species of Cisthene known to occur north of the Mexican border (Lepidoptera: Arctiidae: Lithosiinae). Transactions of the American Entomological Society, 93(1): 41-100. (1)
Knudson, Ed, and Charles Bordelon. 2010. Checklist of the Lepidoptera of Texas. Texas Lep. Surv. Publ. No. 6. (6)
Sexton, C., and H. McGuinness. 2017. Identification of lichen moths in the genus Cisthene in the central and eastern U.S. Southern Lep. News (39(4):309-322.
Internet References
Moth Photographers Group - pinned adult photos of all North American species.
Moths of southeastern Arizona - key to Arizona species
Works Cited
1.A Revision of the Species of Cisthene Known to Occur North of the Mexican Border (Lepidoptera: Arctiidae: Lithosiinae)
Carroll B. Knowlton. 1967. Transactions of the American Entomological Society, 93(1): 41-100.
2.Annotated check list of the Noctuoidea (Insecta, Lepidoptera) of North America north of Mexico.
Donald J. Lafontaine, B. Christian Schmidt. 2010. ZooKeys 40: 1–239 .
3.Identification of Lichen Moths in the Genus Cisthene Walker 1854 (Erebidae: Arctiinae) in the Central and Eastern U.S.
Sexton, C. and H. McGuinness. 2017. Southern Lepidopterists' News 39(4):309-322.
4.Tiger Moths and Woolly Bears: behavior, ecology, and evolution of the Arctiidae.
William E. Conner (ed.). 2009. Oxford University Press.
5.Peterson Field Guides: Eastern Moths
Charles V. Covell. 1984. Houghton Mifflin Company.
6.Checklist of the Lepidoptera of Texas. Texas Lep. Survey, Publ. No. 6.
Ed Knudson & Charles Bordelon. 2010. Texas Lepidoptera Survey.