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Species Atteva aurea - Ailanthus Webworm Moth - Hodges#2401

Ailanthus Webworm Moth - Atteva aurea Ailanthus Webworm Moth - Hodges#2401 - Atteva aurea Ailanthus Webworm Moth - Atteva aurea Ailanthus Webworm Moth - Atteva aurea Atteva punctella - Atteva aurea Ailanthus Webworm Moth - Atteva aurea Ailanthus webworm moth - Atteva aurea Ailanthus Webworm - Atteva aurea Ailanthus Webworm - Atteva aurea
Show images of: caterpillars · adults · both
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths)
Superfamily Yponomeutoidea (Ermine Moths and kin)
Family Attevidae (Tropical Ermine Moths)
Genus Atteva
Species aurea (Ailanthus Webworm Moth - Hodges#2401)
Hodges Number
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Atteva aurea (Fitch, 1857). Taxonomic notes:
This moth belongs to a species complex that was recently split; see Wilson 2010 in references.
Deiopeia aurea Fitch, 1857 = Atteva aurea is the proper name for the North American temperate forest moths
Tinea pustulella Fabricius = Atteva pustulella is now restricted to the tropical rainforest species
Phalaena Tinea punctella Stoll, 1781 = Atteva punctella was commonly used for this species but was never valid because it was a junior homonym of Phalaena puntcella Linnaeus. It also refers to the tropical species.
Authorship of P. punctella is sometimes listed as Cramer, 1781. Cramer died before his description was officially published.
Explanation of Names
Aurea means golden.
Former species name punctella is from Latin punct a sting or prick, plus suffix ella small (1), referring to spots on wings.
The only species in this genus in North America listed at All-Leps. There may be a different species in southern Florida, Atteva floridana.
wingspan 18-30 mm
Adult: forewing orange with several large black and white rosettes with some variability which has led to many different names (2). Covell notes that the Florida population has smaller spots and was previously considered a separate species (Atteva floridana)(3). Hindwing translucent black. The bright pattern of the forewings is likely aposematic in this subfamily (Kristensen, 1999).
e NA to s CA / Mex. to C. Amer. / W. Indies - Map (MPG)(3)(2).
Larvae are found in webs in Ailanthus (Simaroubaceae) (2). Adults found taking nectar from flowers.
mostly April to Nov, but longer in coastal states (MPG)
Adults take nectar of flowers in old-field habitats. Larvae feed on leaves of Ailanthus and paradise trees (3) and other deciduous trees and shrubs (4).
The Natural History Museum (HOSTS) lists, in addition to Ailanthus altissima: Castela emoryi, Persea americana, and Simarouba glauca.
Buguide contributors have reported it on sumac
Life Cycle
Larvae live in communal webs (3). Several generations a year depending on region. It can complete the entire life cycle in 4 weeks. Larvae can be found from mid-spring to a hard freeze. The main larval food plant (Ailanthus altissima) is also known as Tree of Heaven, Stinking Sumac, Copal Tree, or Varnish Tree, and occurs throughout most of United States and southern Canada, often planted as an ornamental in urban areas. The tree is native to Asia, and is an invasive species in North America, but the moth is native, and its range has increased, presumably, since the introduction of the tree.
1 and 2. Caterpillars. 3. Pupa
Thought to be native to South Florida and the American tropics (south to Costa Rica), which were the habitat of its original larval host plants: the paradise tree (Simarouba glauca) and Simarouba amara. It started moving north around the 1850s when introduced Ailanthus altissima contacted the moth's native range.(5)
See Also
At first sight, this species is often mistaken for a beetle because of its bright colors and habit of visiting flowers in the daytime.
Cydosia aurivitta in the Noctuidae, a Batesian mimic (?)
Compare Atteva aurea (left) with its mimic (right)
Print References
Arnett, page 677, with a black and white photograph (figure 27.48) (2)
Borror, entries for punct, ella (1)
Brou, V.A., 2002. Variations in Atteva aurea and Hyparpax aurora in Louisiana. Southern Lepidopterists' News 24: 2, insert C.(6)
Covell, page 431, color plate 61 (#13) and B&W plate 62 (#5) (3)
Kristensen (1999). Handbook of Zoology--Lepidoptera, Moths and Butterflies vol. 1: 122 GoogleBooks
Wilson, J.J. et al, "Identity of the ailanthus webworm moth (Lepidoptera: Yponomeutidae), a complex of two species: evidence from DNA barcoding, morphology and ecology." ZooKeys Article (2010)
Internet References
classification - Butterflies and Moths of the World
Works Cited
1.Dictionary of Word Roots and Combining Forms
Donald J. Borror. 1960. Mayfield Publishing Company.
2.American Insects: A Handbook of the Insects of America North of Mexico
Ross H. Arnett. 2000. CRC Press.
3.Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America
Charles V. Covell, Jr. 2005.
4.National Audubon Society Field Guide to Insects and Spiders
Lorus and Margery Milne. 1980. Knopf.
5.A review of the New World Atteva Walker moths
Vitor O. Becker. 2009. Revista Brasileira de Entomologia.
6.Variations in Atteva aurea and Hyparpax aurora in Louisiana.
Vernon Antoine Brou Jr. 2002. Southern Lepidopterists' News, 24:2, insert C.