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Species Lithophane patefacta - Dimorphic Pinion - Hodges#9886

Pinion moth - Lithophane patefacta Lithophane patefacta Lithophane patefacta Lithophane patefacta Moth to porch light  - Lithophane patefacta Lithophane patefacta Dimorphic Pinion - Lithophane patefacta Lithophane patefacta
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 Noctuidae (Owlet Moths)
Subfamily Noctuinae (Cutworm or Dart Moths)
Tribe Xylenini
Subtribe Xylenina
Genus Lithophane (Pinions)
Species patefacta (Dimorphic Pinion - Hodges#9886)
Hodges Number
Other Common Names
Branded Pinion [This name was given to the Hemina Pinion (Lithophane hemina) by Wagner et al; however, the same name was also given to Lithophane patefacta by the same authors on the same page, so there is uncertainty as to which species the name refers. To avoid confusion, I suggest retaining the widely-known name Hemina Pinion for Lithophane hemina, and calling Lithophane patefacta the Dimorphic Pinion.
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Lithophane patefacta (Walker, 1858)
Graptolitha patefacta (Walker, 1858)
Xylina patefacta Walker, 1858
Phylogenetic sequence # 932532
wingspan about 36 mm, based on photo by Jim Vargo at MPG
larva to 35 mm
Adult has two color forms: light form - forewing pale brownish-gray to silvery-gray with short dark diagonal marks along costa; subreniform spot black, oblong or oval, with a smooth (not irregular) outline, and a sharply-defined (not diffuse) edge; small white spot usually present at distal end of subreniform spot; AM and PM lines represented by indistinct dark dots; diffuse dark patches along outer margin near apex and anal angle, and midway along costa; faint reddish-brown shading may be present in area around reniform spot; except for the prominent subreniform spot, most of the forewing surface is uniformly pale, giving a "washed out" appearance
dark form - lower two-thirds of forewing dark brown to blackish, as in dark forms of several other Lithophane species; upper third (along costa) pale brown or tan; hindwing dark gray with pale fringe in both forms

Larva: body variegated in steel blue, gray, and white, with thin yellow to orange middorsal and subdorsal stripes; some individuals very pale; others quite dark (especially southward); dorsal pinacula white, prominent; pale spiracular stripe, when present, may be edged with black above; head variable, pale and unmarked to extensively mottled with black; penultimate instar shiny pale green, with prominent white striping and spotting
[description by David Wagner et al]

Ontario and Quebec, south to South Carolina and Georgia, west to Wisconsin; also recorded from British Columbia
Wagner et al give northern Florida as part of the range, but L. patefacta is not included on John Heppner's list of Florida lepidoptera
deciduous forests and woodlots; adults are nocturnal and come to light and bait
adults fly from April to June and from September to November
larvae from May to July
most larvae feed on leaves of blueberry, cherry, hickory, maple, oak, and other woody plants
some larvae eat other caterpillars (including their own siblings)
Life Cycle
overwinters as an adult; one generation per year
light forms of the adult are more common in the north, and dark forms more common in the south

the photo labeled L. patefacta here by Jeremy Tatum of Vancouver Island, BC has very prominent markings, more typical of L. innominata; however, the subreniform spot has a fairly smooth and sharp outline, characteristic of L. patefacta
See Also
Lithophane bethunei forewing is paler and more yellowish with faint subreniform spot but otherwise more distinct and prominent markings
Lithophane innominata forewing has more prominent markings; wing does not appear "washed out"
(compare images of all 3 species at CBIF)
light forms of L. hemina, petulca, signosa have longitudinal streaking on forewing, and a more diffuse subreniform spot
(see photos of these and numerous other Lithophane species at U. of Alberta, using CBIF images)
the light form of Lithophane lanei, a species described in 2006 by Jim Troubridge (see PDF doc) has a browner forewing with a blackish basal dash, absent in patefacta
Internet References
live adult images of light forms, plus description, foodplants, flight season (Lynn Scott, Ontario)
pinned adult images of dark and light forms (James Adams, Dalton State College, Georgia)
pinned adult image of light form (CBIF)
presence in South Carolina; county distribution map (John Snyder, Furman U., South Carolina)
distribution in Canada list of provinces (U. of Alberta, using CBIF data)