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) iNaturalist.org
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)
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.
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.
- DNA sequenced specimens
Moths of Southeastern Arizona
- how to seperate the Cisthene
species of southern Arizona