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Species Greya politella - Hodges#0194

Small Silver Moth - Greya politella Small Silver Moth - Greya politella gray moths on Lithophragma parviflora - Greya politella gray moths on Lithophragma parviflora - Greya politella Greya politella  - Greya politella
Show images of: caterpillars · adults · both
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths)
Superfamily Adeloidea (Fairy Moths and kin)
Family Prodoxidae (Yucca Moths)
Subfamily Prodoxinae
Genus Greya
Species politella (Greya politella - Hodges#0194)
Hodges Number
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Incurvaria politella Walsingham, 1888 (1), (2)
Phylogenetic sequence #210017
Explanation of Names
Specific epithet is Latin meaning "polished" for the forewings that are "shining, pale greyish with a slight aeneous (coppery) tinge." (1), (3)
Forewing length 5-9 mm. (4)
Wing expanse 14-20 mm.
Last instar larva 5.6 mm (2)
Pupa 5.4 mm (2)
Adult - uniformly brownish gray, irrorated with a sparse scattering of somewhat indistinct grayish white scales, sometimes so heavily as to impart a pale bronzy iridescence. Hindwing gray, usually darker than forewing and without pale, bronzy luster. (2)
Pupa - Dark brown to black. Vertex smoothly rounded. (2)
Egg - White, pyriform or oblong, molded by surrounding ovules, 0.35 x 0.2 mm. Chorion smooth. (2)
From southern British Columbia to California Channel Islands and southern Sierra Nevada. From the Pacific coast to Idaho and Colorado.
Flies from mid-March to early August.
Host plants have been recorded from the species listed below, all in the saxifrage family (Saxifragaceae):
   Lithophragma affine, L. bolanderi, L. cymbalaria, L. heterophyllum, L. parviflorum, L. tenellum, and Heuchera grossulariifolia.
Life Cycle
The female oviposits down into the ovary, and the larva feeds first on seeds and later after hibernation on vegetative parts (Pellmyr & Thompson, 1992).
The adult moth pollinates its host while the larvae feeds off the seeds. This relationship is similar to the well-known example of mutualism between yucca plants and yucca moths, Tegeticula, also in the family Prodoxidae. For more details, see the article by Pellmyr & Thompson cited below under "Print References". (See also the "Remarks" on the Tegeticula info page.)
Print References
Pellmyr, O. & J.N. Thompson 1992. Multiple Occurrences of Mutualism in the Yucca Moth Lineage. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. 89(7): 2927-2929 (PDF)
Walsingham, T. de Grey. 1888. Steps towards a revision of Chambers' index* with notes and descriptions of new species. Insect Life 1(5): 146. (1)
Works Cited
1.Steps towards a revision of Chambers' index, with notes and descriptions of new species. (continuing series vol. 1)
Lord Walsingham. 1888. Insect Life 1(3-5,8-9): 81-84, 113-117, 145-150, 254-258, 287-291.
2.Biology and systematics of Greya Busck and Tetragma, new genus (Lepidoptera: Prodoxidae).
Donald R. Davis, Olle Pellmyr & John N. Thompson. 1992. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 524: 1-74, f.251-375.
3.Dictionary of Word Roots and Combining Forms
Donald J. Borror. 1960. Mayfield Publishing Company.
4.Moths of Western North America
Powell and Opler. 2009. UC Press.