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Yellow-based Tussock Moth - Dasychira basiflava

Yellow-based Tussock Moth - Dasychira basiflava
Snowhill Road north of Cabin Branch Creek, Treyburn area, Durham County, North Carolina, USA
June 1, 2006
Size: 46 mm wingspan
At a lighted wall. Wingspan (spread) estimated from measurement of forewing taken in place--about 21 mm along the free edge.

This one really puzzled me--see comments below, and thanks, as always to Bob Patterson.

8296 - Dasychira basiflava
...and a superb photo of a superb specimen. If you look at Jim Vargo's spread specimens at MPG I think you will agree that D. manto drops from consideration, and that a choice must be made between D. basiflava (northern) and D. meridionalis (southern) species whose ranges probably abut somewhere in North Carolina. The photos in Ferguson's (1978) MONA Fascicle 22.2 do not help as much, in my opinion, as do Vargo's in making this choice. Your specimen seems to me to combine nicely elements of the male and female photos of Vargo's D. basiflava.

Your date is about a week earlier than Ferguson's early date for southern specimens. I'm guessing that he had few specimens to look at from NC. I frequently encounter moths at dates a week or two earlier than the earliest dates compiled by Glaser and Ferguson over a 15 year period for Maryland moths.

Check Out BOLD
I was looking at D. meridionalis on the BOLD website here (scroll down a bit to the 2nd section of images). Not sure these images existed 2 years ago. They look more convincing to me than the D. basiflava images. The AM line looks better in that it doesn't seem to bend as much toward the PM line as it approaches the inner margin and it is doubled. Also the PM line looks pretty straight except at the inner margin.

This is just an opinion. I'd stick with Bob's call until he or another expert says otherwise.

Yes, very tough
Thanks for the link--this looks to be a tough one. Compare images we have here, for instance, of D. meridionalis (left) || D. basiflava:


Very tough. I saw another one of these a month ago and did not get a photo--now I wish I had, because I did not realize how few we had.

Check Out Covell Too
Under similar species for D. basiflava, Covell write in his field guide "...D. meridionalis...has white upper median area and nearly straight pm. line (1 tooth points outward at midpoint; line turns outward above inner margin)."

Thanks, to guide
Thanks, Bob, I see what you mean, now that it is pointed out to me. I'll move it to a guide.

Patrick Coin
Durham, North Carolina

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