Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
Clickable Guide
Moths Butterflies Flies Caterpillars Flies Dragonflies Flies Mantids Cockroaches Bees and Wasps Walkingsticks Earwigs Ants Termites Hoppers and Kin Hoppers and Kin Beetles True Bugs Fleas Grasshoppers and Kin Ticks Spiders Scorpions Centipedes Millipedes

Upcoming Events

Interested in a 2022 BugGuide gathering in New Mexico?

Photos of insects and people from the Spring 2021 gathering in Louisiana, April 28-May 2

National Moth Week 2020 photos of insects and people.

Photos of insects and people from the 2019 gathering in Louisiana, July 25-27

Discussion, insects and people from the 2018 gathering in Virginia, July 27-29

Photos of insects and people from the 2015 gathering in Wisconsin, July 10-12

Photos of insects and people from the 2014 gathering in Virginia, June 4-7.

Previous events

Euclea delphinii - Euclea incisa

Euclea delphinii - Euclea incisa
Sand Springs, Osage County, Oklahoma, USA
August 3, 2007
Size: 1/2"
Please help with ID.

I'm commenting on this because it is heavily referenced. Per info here, I'm not sure it is possible to tell what species this is and it could even be a hybrid. That said, I'm not suggesting that it should be moved at least not for now. I'm not clear if OK is a part of the "hybrid zone".


This image of Euclea delphinii is a valuable image, especially with the very pertinent discussion involved. This needs to be a keeper.

I also unfrassed a couple other of your images that are a distinct value to the Guide. If you don't like the images, at least keep the current ones until you get a better replacement.

Moved from Frass.

*Edit* Since this discussion in 2008, incisa has been confirmed, and collected from, several counties across OK, and as a result, I believe this specimen is in fact a likely incisa. A move is probably imminent.

Should I move this to incisa or not?

I actually meant to move that when I heard back from Ed, but forgot. That's almost certainly incisa, which has recently been surprising us with its more easterly distribution than previously thought. So it's safe to move to incisa.


why frass?

could be E. nanina
See information on the Euclea Info page regarding E. nanina in Texas and elsewhere.

Here's another list that gives nanina as the only Euclea species in Texas, so maybe the situation in Oklahoma is similar? I think it would be safer to move this to the genus level (like I've done with the Texas photos) until we find out how to distinguish Euclea species in the southern states.

There's no 'green form' of nanina. Only delphinii has this 'green form' with a mostly green forewing, and this particular form of delphinii is generally found in the Midwest such as MO, KS, as well as OK and even Texas.

Also, size is a determining factor between the two. E. nanina is always the smaller moth.

info source?
Do you have references that say there is no green form of nanina, and that delphinii definitely occurs in Texas?

On the genus page, I used to have a link (dead now) to a mostly green Euclea nanina photo from U. of Texas, that looked virtually identical to the recent Euclea photos posted from Texas and Oklahoma.

Well, you're not going to find much published on nanina as of yet. I don't have any published works to quote you that I'm aware of.

My info comes from my personal knowledge and experience with the genus, as well as correspondence with several experts about the two species, the most recent being James Adams. James also further states, "*SIZE* is *ALWAYS* indicative. E. nanina is a smaller moth. And, even though the green spots are similar, the shape and proportions are always still diagnostic."

I'd be glad to take a look through our Euclea images and see if I can offer some opinions. I've collected specimens of both delphinii and nanina from FL, GA, AL, and TN. I'll see how the images compare to those in my drawer of Limacodidae.

What we really need...
is a text description of the diagnostic characteristics of delphinii and nanina, and it should be detailed/precise enough to allow us to visually distinguish the difference(s) between the species.

In the images of nanina here, the green patch near the base of the forewing resembles a closed hand, with its "index finger" pointing toward the outer margin of the wing. The basal edge of this patch is blunt or truncated, giving the patch an overall rectangular shape, with rounded corners. However, in the All-Leps image of nanina, the "index finger" on the right forewing is almost invisible, and a "detached fingertip" is all that remains on the left forewing. Also, the basal edge of the patch is more pointed, giving the patch a more triangular shape. In this photo, the "index finger" is visible on both wings, and the basal patch is somewhat trapezoidal (intermediate between rectangular and triangular) but the picture comes from the All-Leps delphinii page. I don't know whether these particular characteristics are important ones, and I don't know whether all the web photos of delphinii and nanina are correctly labelled, so the situation seems far from clear to me at the moment.

Size differences would be useful if we knew the range of measurements for each species, and had either a specimen in hand or a photo taken against a ruler that would allow accurate measurement. Otherwise, "larger" and "smaller" are relative terms, and estimating size from photos taken in the field can be risky, especially if the photos are someone else's.

I previously mentioned a link (now dead) to a mostly green E. nanina photo from U. of Texas. It looked very much like these photos of Euclea incisa from Arizona. At this point, I wouldn't rule out the possibility of all 3 species (incisa, nanina, delphinii) having individuals with mostly green forewings. And if that's the case, I wouldn't know how to distinguish between them in areas where their ranges overlap.

More detailed information is required for the sake of people who would like to ID these species on their own. Adding that info to the Guide for future reference would be a great help.

Euclea Info
I completely understand Robin. As I mentioned earlier, there just isn’t much (if any) info published on nanina right now, which complicates things a bit. Honestly, it is quite difficult to describe the differences of the rather ambiguous markings on these two species. I seem to frustrate myself the more I try to articulate the differences. It’s almost one of those situations where I can point out the species from experience, but I can’t seem to accurately describe why in unambiguous terms.

The best I can probably do to describe them for now, is that in nanina, the green markings are proportionately larger. The basal green patch in nanina is generally perspicuously larger in proportion (of FW) when compared to the typical delphinii, and it always rises slightly above vein CuA, whereas in delphinii, the green patch generally only borders along vein CuA or less (except in the green forms). Also, as you noted, the green patch in nanina is wider basally, but more narrow in delphinii giving a more triangular appearance (although that can vary slightly in both). Also, the wing shape of nanina tends to be more blunt and “stubby” in appearance (harder to distinguish in males of the two). And in regard to size, it appears the published size range for delphinii is 19-31mm (Covell). And for nanina, I only have my specimens from my Limacodidae drawer which range from 17-19mm.

Also, as I mentioned before, there is no green form of nanina. At least none that have been collected, described, or photographed, and as such at this time, no green form of nanina exists (Though I agree with you that I wouldn’t deem it impossible). If a suspected green form of nanina does turn up, size should determine pretty quickly whether it is or not.

Now, as to that BoldSystems photo, that is an ID error. That moth is a delphinii specimen.

In regard to the moth on the former UT link, if it was a green form like that of delphinii or incisa (incisa is always green to my knowledge), I suspect that it is in fact one of those two. Given that no green forms of nanina are known, I suspect the moth was a border jumping incisa, or a green form delphinii depending on where it was collected. I contacted Ed Knudson to see if he is aware of any green form nanina showing up over there, because that would be great documentation (and the first recorded green form nanina to boot).

I wished I could be of more help with references. Unfortunately, there just isn’t much published on these two species (especially nanina). I’m offering all the info I can from my experience with them and from info gleaned from correspondence with a few experts, but I realize this info can only carry so much weight given that I am not a published expert. Hopefully, this discussion has at least helped to further the likelihood that we will get some solid info on IDing these little guys. We’re moving forward one step at a time. :)

*Edit 2015* I wanted to update by adding that there is what is now sometimes called a "green form" nanina, however, it isn't a true green form, but rather a variation where the two primary green FW patches are enlarged and either touch or connect in the median area giving the appearance of a single green patch. It's quite distinct looking from the green form delphini though.
Example here:

Looks related to
- not sure how to tell the Parasa apart.

Definitely related
This is one of the variations of Euclea delphinii, # 4697. The brown costa and the brown band covering and going past the tornus, as well as the brown thoracic scaling distinguish this from the Parasa.

Comment viewing options
Select your preferred way to display the comments and click 'Save settings' to activate your changes.