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Genus Cosmia

Moth 37 - Cosmia calami Cosmia elisae Tan Moth - Cosmia calami American Dun-bar Moth  - Cosmia calami Noctuidae: Cosmia calami - Cosmia calami Arizona Moth - Noctuid - Cosmia elisae Cosmia calami? - Cosmia calami Cosmia calami? - Cosmia calami
Show images of: caterpillars · adults · both
Classification
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 Cosmiina
Genus Cosmia
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Cosmia Ochsenheimer, 1816
* includes Achytonix, which was synonymized with Cosmia in 2003 by Lafontaine and Troubridge
Explanation of Names
Generic epithet Cosmia from Greek meaning "adorned." (1)
Numbers
4 species in North America.
Identification
C. calami: forewing light yellow or brownish with prominent smooth AM and PM lines; orbicular and reniform spots distinct; hindwing white
remaining 3 species: forewing light gray to dark gray or blackish with smooth AM line and jagged PM line; orbicular and reniform spots distinct; hindwing usually dark gray
(see color plates of pinned specimens)
Range
C. calami occurs throughout United States and southern Canada
the remaining species occur only in the west
Habitat
deciduous, mixed, or coniferous forests
Season
adults fly in spring and summer
Food
C. calami larvae feed on oak
C. elisae and C. praeacuta larvae feed on Douglas-fir and other conifers
Remarks
Cosmia epipaschia (formerly Achytonix epipaschia) is known only from a single male specimen (the holotype) collected in New Mexico and described by Grote in 1883. The holotype is pictured as figure 2 in this plate from the paper by Lafontaine and Troubridge.

The following quotes are from their paper:
"Traditionally, Achytonix was treated as two species in North America with A. epipaschia (and its two subspecies nigramaculata Barnes & Benjamin and orae Barnes & Benjamin) being a dark-brown species with broad black transverse lines and A. praeacuta being a pale-gray species with thin black transverse lines. We now recognize both of these "taxa" as color forms of Cosmia praeacuta but treat C. epipaschia as a distinct species known only from the holotype, the name having been wrongly associated with one of the forms of C. praeacuta. Cosmia epipaschia is known from the unique holotype collected near Las Vegas, New Mexico."
" - Reniform and orbicular spots edged with light gray scales and filled with darker gray ...... C. epipaschia
- Reniform and orbicular spots edged with black and filled with light gray or pink scales ...... C. praeacuta"

Thanks to Jan Metlevski for supplying details from the paper by Lafontaine and Troubridge.

It follows from Lafontaine and Troubridge's paper that, except for photos of the holotype itself, all Internet photos labeled "Cosmia epipaschia" or "Achytonix epipaschia" are mislabeled images of either Cosmia praeacuta or C. elisae.
Print References
Lafontaine, J.D. and J.T. Troubridge. 2003. Review of the genus Cosmia (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) in North America, with description of a new species. The Canadian Entomologist 135: 325-336.
Internet References
pinned adult images of 3 species occurring in Canada (CBIF)
pinned adult image of C. praeacuta mislabeled as species epipaschia plus description, food plants, habitat, flight season (Jeff Miller, Macromoths of Northwest Forests and Woodlands; USGS)
pinned adult image of C. praeacuta mislabeled as species epipaschia (California Dept. of Food and Agriculture)
pinned adult image of C. praeacuta (Bruce Walsh, Moths of Southeastern Arizona)
live larva images of C. elisae, plus description, foodplants, distribution, biology (Canadian Forest Service, Natural Resources Canada)
live larva image of C. praeacuta mislabeled as species epipaschia plus foodplants, seasonality (Jeff Miller, Caterpillars of Pacific Northwest Forests and Woodlands; USGS)
Review of the genus Cosmia in North America, with description of a new species [Abstract only] stating that Achytonix is synonymized with Cosmia, plus other info (Lafontaine and Troubridge, The Canadian Entomologist, 2003)
color plates to accompany above article showing images of pinned specimens and genitalia (Lafontaine and Troubridge, The Canadian Entomologist, 2003)
distribution in Canada list of provinces for 3 species (U. of Alberta, using CBIF data)
Works Cited
1.An accentuated list of the British Lepidoptera, with hints on the derivation of the names.
Anonymous. 1858. The Entomological Societies of Oxford and Cambridge.