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Species Gazoryctra sciophanes - Hodges#0023.1

Gazoryctra sciophanes
Show images of: caterpillars · adults · both
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths)
Superfamily Hepialoidea (Ghost Moths)
Family Hepialidae (Ghost Moths)
Genus Gazoryctra
Species sciophanes (Gazoryctra sciophanes - Hodges#0023.1)
Hodges Number
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Gazoryctra sciophanes (Ferguson, 1979)
Hepialus sciophanes Ferguson, 1979 (1)
Forewing length: males, 15-18 mm.; females, 20 mm. (2)
"Rounded forewing variably sooty black to dark brown with diffuse gray, dark brown, or black mottling and streaking. It typically shows an elongated white bar or patch with irregular, jagged edges running obliquely across the lower half of the median area, as well as several small, elongated white spots at the base. It may also show white spotting in the subterminal area and along the costa, but these markings are subject to individual variation. Ferguson (1979) (1) states that in half of the male specimens he collected, the large white forewing patch was reduced or obscured. Females appear to be lighter overall, perhaps with less distinct patterning (Ferguson, 1979 (1); Grehan, 1998 (3))." (2)
"G. sciophanes is a southern Appalachian endemic described by Ferguson (1979) (1) from a series collected in Jackson County, NC. Additional series were collected by Grehan (1998) (3) in Yancey and Mitchell Co., NC. While it also occurs in Virginia and West Virginia (Grehan, 1998 (3)), it may be most easily be found in NC, where it is likely uncommon. It also occurs in the mountains of eastern Tennessee." (2)
All of the records of "Moths of North Carolina" come from Spruce-Fir forests at elevations above 4,000 feet elevation (2). However, G. sciophanes has also been collected on several high peaks and balds in NC where spruce/fir is not found (2).
Like other members of the family, this species appears to fly for just a short period right around dusk, and during a relatively short window in early to mid-July. It is at least somewhat attracted to lights (2).
It is currently thought that they are subterranean borers that probably feed on the roots of grasses (J. Bolling Sullivan, pers. comm.) (2).
Life Cycle
Unknown, presumably a root-feeder like other members of this family.
"Recent mDNA barcoding of Gazoryctra specimens taken from different mountain tops in the state suggests that several cryptic species may be involved (J. Bolling Sullivan, pers. comm.)." (2)
Works Cited
1.A new ghost moth from the southern Appalachian mountains (Hepialidae)
Douglas C. Ferguson . 1979. Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society, 33(3), 192-196.
2.Moths of North Carolina
Steve Hall, Bo Sullivan, Parker Backstrom, Merrill Lynch, Tom Howard. North Carolina Department of Parks and Recreation.
3.Survey of Semiothisa fraserata (Geometridae) and Gazoryctra sciophanes (Hepialidae) in the southern Appalachians
Grehan, J.R. 1998. Unpublished report for the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Asheville, North Carolina.
4.North American Moth Photographers Group
5.BOLD: The Barcode of Life Data Systems