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Tiger Moth - Apantesis carlotta-nais-phalerata-vittata

Tiger Moth - Apantesis carlotta-nais-phalerata-vittata
Jefferson National Forest, Smyth County, Virginia, USA
May 27, 2008

Images of this individual: tag all
Tiger Moth - Apantesis carlotta-nais-phalerata-vittata Tiger Moth - Apantesis carlotta-nais-phalerata-vittata

Moved from Banded Tiger Moth.

According to Chris Schmidt, regarding the handful of BugGuide records for A. vittata for Arkansas and Virginia, there's "no way to ID these definitively as vittata, especially since they are range-edge or beyond."
A. vittata occurs from southeastern Texas east through the gulf states and up the coastal plain to North Carolina. Any proposal of a vittata record north of this should be met with skepticism until a genitalia image is provided.
Also, I've gotten female Apantesis with the red hindwing and solid black band as far north as Pennsylvania, so this should not be used as a definitive mark for vittata vs. nais.

Moved from Harnessed Tiger Moth.

Revisiting Apantesis and realized I had not updated this one. These deep red hindwings with solid broad black border are consistently indicative of only vittata form 'radians.' I'm not sure if this is 100% diagnostic, but is the consensus of feedback I've received. There may be confusion with worn 'radians' specimens, which may look just like female phalerata, but otherwise, this should be at least one form readily distinguishable.

Moved from Apantesis.

Yes, we looked at this
and then decided to hope that Jason would jump on it! We're thinking yours is more likely Apantesis such as . The spots on the collar behind the head are important, but we're not sure how many choices that leaves.

You know, just as I start to build a little confidence in certain markings, they fail the test. I've had some good exchanges with Chris Schmidt from Canada, and he concurs that those characteristics just aren't reliable enough. It seems that they will be indicative quite often, but they aren't truly diagnostic because sometimes they just don't pass. So the spots/no spots on the collar are perhaps a good guide, but not diagnostic. Same for the black costal margin.

The only reliable method is examination of genitalia. The good news is that phalerata doesn't require dissection and examination of the aedeagus. The valve of phalerata is easily distinguished by its longer, up-curved apex. So one could brush the scales away from the last sternite and see it. The nais/carlotta/vittata group have rather blunt and rounded apices of the valve.

Fortunately, it does seem that phalerata vittata form 'radians' is the only one of the group to have the variation of dark red HWs with the thick unbroken terminal black border (phalerata female HW lighter red, more pinkish, with broken black border), so I would say that this one is indeed an A. phalerata A. vittata form 'radians.'

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