Douglasiidae, Tinagma gaedikei - Tinagma gaedikei
5 miles south of Charleston, Coles County, Illinois, USA
May 5, 2007
Size: Length, ca. 4mm
This douglasiid moth, Tinagma gaedikei, was not known to the scientific community until it was described in 2005 (Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington 107: 596-603). The moth is univoltine. The only situation in which the diurnal adult is seen is on the flower of Miami mist, Phacelia purshii (Hydrophyllaceae), which is the larval host plant. Both male and female moths sit on P. purshii flowers, usually singly, but mating pairs occasionally have been observed. The plant is a spring ephemeral of low-lying deciduous forest. In east-central Illinois, it flowers during the first week of May, and this is the only period during the year when adult T. gaedikei can be seen.
At the type locality near Charleston, Coles County, Illinois, the moth is not abundant, but because of its generally dark coloration, its habit of sitting on the pale flower of P. purshii makes it very conspicuously visible where present. The moth is easily recognized by the prominent white fascia at midlength on the forewing.
Since being described from Illinois, Tinagma gaedikei also has been recorded from Kentucky. To date, those are the only two known localities for the moth, but this is simply because they are the only two sites where anyone has looked for it. It may well be that the moth occurs wherever P. purshii is present.