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Species Aetole bella - Hodges#2497

Perhaps Mompha or Chrysoclista? - Aetole bella Moth -? - Aetole bella Aetole bella ? - Aetole bella Aetole bella ? - Aetole bella Moth? - Aetole bella Euclemensia bassettella? - Aetole bella Aetole bella? reared from Portulaca oleracea - Aetole bella Aetole bella? reared from Portulaca oleracea - Aetole bella
Show images of: caterpillars · adults · both
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths)
Superfamily Yponomeutoidea (Ermine Moths and kin)
Family Heliodinidae (Sun Moths)
Genus Aetole
Species bella (Aetole bella - Hodges#2497)
Hodges Number
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Author: Chambers, 1875
forewing length 3 - 4.5 mm (1)
Adults - bright vermillion on the basal two-thirds, mostly lead gray distally, with silvery spots (1)
Kansas and Colorado through the southwest, Texas and Florida (1)
Life Cycle
larvae mine in leaves or opportunistically into stems or cecidomylid (Diptera) galls or feed from external silk net in later instars, and pupation occurs outside the mine (1)
When Portulaca oleracea was introduced from the Old World A. bella adopted this plant and it has since expanded its territory.

Has colonized outside its native range and later became extinct. For example it was collected in San Diego in the 1930s but has not been recorded in California in the past 65 years (1)

note added 12-15-12 by David J. Ferguson
It is widely assumed and believed that Portulaca oleracea was introduced into North America by European settlers; however, there is only circumstantial and unprovable evidence of this. However, there is overwhelming evidence that it was present in North America long before any Europeans arrived, and it is also evident that there are at least a few different "species" (or at least genetically and cytologically distinct races) involved in the P. oleracea complex in North America; these are typically lumped together as if one. At least one such - Portulaca retusa - is widely distributed in the southwest of North America, and behaves as if a native annual adapted to summer rainfall in hot summer semiarid and arid regions (in other words, it is not a garden "weed" or cultivated herb). Evidence for the presence of P. oleracea, sometimes reaching back thousands of years, comes in the form of datable seed and pollen samples from rat middens, sediment layers, archeological sites, etc. For one paper dealing with such evidence, see here. Several other such records and papers exist relating to sampling in different regions of the continent. It is probable that humans have been using and moving various Portulaca species around wherever they have gone for many thousands of years, but it is also true that P. oleracea could easily (and probably does) pre-date humans in North America. Numerous other closely related species of Portulaca, some named, some not, occur in the Americas southward from the United States, but the group is not particularly diverse in other regions of the world - meaning it is not unlikely that P. oleracea actually originated in the Americas. Also, most of the things that feed on or infect P. oleracea are American. On the flip side, there is also evidence that various strains belonging to the P. oleracea complex have occurred in many parts of the world for a very long time. It might be added that animals also can, and do move the very durable seeds.
Works Cited
1.Moths of Western North America
Powell and Opler. 2009. UC Press.