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Species Cisthene angelus - Angel Lichen Moth - Hodges#8070

Moth - Cisthene angelus Moth - Cisthene angelus lichen moth - Cisthene angelus Yellow and Grey Moth.  - Cisthene angelus Yellow and Grey Moth.  - Cisthene angelus Cisthene angelus ? - Cisthene angelus Arizona Moth - Cisthene angelus Angel Lichen Moth - Cisthene angelus
Show images of: caterpillars · adults · both
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths)
Superfamily Noctuoidea (Owlet Moths and kin)
Family Erebidae
Subfamily Arctiinae (Tiger and Lichen Moths)
Tribe Lithosiini (Lichen Moths)
Subtribe Cisthenina
Genus Cisthene
Species angelus (Angel Lichen Moth - Hodges#8070)
Hodges Number
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Cisthene angelus (Dyar, 1904)
Illice angelus Dyar, 1904
* phylogenetic sequence #930187
Forewing length 10-12 mm (Powell & Opler, 2009).(1)
Dyar's original description of angelus(2) and Knowlton's revision of the genus(3) both emphasize the solid yellow/orange color of the thorax, lacking any black or gray spot. This is combined with a wide yellow/orange band on the FW inner margin which connects broadly to the post-median bar which is also usually quite broad. The PM band is usually oblique, nearly paralleling the outer FW margin. See this Texas key for further details on separating this and similar species.
Southern Nevada and Utah south to southern Arizona and west Texas (Powell & Opler, 2009).(1) has records as far east as Val Verde Co., TX, where the species overlaps with the very similar Cisthene picta.
Typically encountered in riparian corridors in arid regions (e.g. banks of the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon; desert washes in West Texas).
Research in the Grand Canyon showed the species with a distinct bimodal flight period, April-June and August-October (Metcalfe et al. 2016)(4) (Powell & Opler, 2009).(1)
Larvae presumably feed on lichens and algae like other Lithosiini.
The larva of Cisthene and others in this tribe are frass shooters. They can fire their fecal pellets up to 20 times the length of their bodies (Conner, 2009).(5)
See Also
Pictured Lichen Moth (Cisthene picta) differs by having the orange PM band perpendicular to the inner and costal margins of the FW rather than nearly parallel with the outer margin. The two species barely overlap in range in s.w. Texas.
Print References
Conner, W. E. (ed.) 2009. Tiger moths and woolly bears: behavior, ecology, and evolution of the Arctiidae. Oxford University Press.
Dyar, H. G. 1904. Descriptions of new forms of the genus Illice Walker. Proc. Ent. Soc. Washington 6(1): 198
Powell, J. A. & P. A. Opler 2009. Moths of Western North America. University of California Press. pl.46.22m, p.265.
Sexton, C., and H. McGuinness. 2017. Identification of lichen moths in the genus Cisthene in the central and eastern U.S. South. Lep. News (39(4):309-322.
Internet References
BOLD Systems - DNA sequenced specimens
Moths of Southeastern Arizona - how to seperate the Cisthene species of southern Arizona
Works Cited
1.Moths of Western North America
Powell and Opler. 2009. UC Press.
2.Descriptions of new forms of the genus Illice Walker.
Harrison G. Dyar. 1904. Proc. Ent. Soc. Wash. 6(4):197-199.
3.A Revision of the Species of Cisthene Known to Occur North of the Mexican Border (Lepidoptera: Arctiidae: Lithosiinae)
Carroll B. Knowlton. 1967. Transactions of the American Entomological Society, 93(1): 41-100.
4.Phenology of the adult angel lichen moth (Cisthene angelus) in Grand Canyon, USA.
Metcalfe, Anya N., T. A. Kennedy, and J. D. Muehlbauer. 2016. Southwestern Naturalist, 61(3):233-240.
5.Tiger Moths and Woolly Bears: behavior, ecology, and evolution of the Arctiidae.
William E. Conner (ed.). 2009. Oxford University Press.