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Species Lithariapteryx elegans - Hodges#2512.1

Tiny Moth - Lithariapteryx elegans Lithariapteryx elegans? - Lithariapteryx elegans Lithariapteryx elegans Lithariapteryx elegans Lithariapteryx elegans Lithariapteryx elegans Lithariapteryx elegans Lithariapteryx elegans
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 Heliodinidae (Sun Moths)
Genus Lithariapteryx
Species elegans (Lithariapteryx elegans - Hodges#2512.1)
Hodges Number
Explanation of Names
Lithariapteryx elegans Powell 1991 (1)
FW length 3.5-5.1 mm.
FW costal area margined with orange at base, lacking silver spots in basal 1/2. Snow white venter and peculiarly stubby forewings adorned with large, upraised scale tufts of shining steel- purplish. (2)
Endemic to Monterey Bay and Pismo-Guadalupe coastal dune systems in central California. (2)
Records south to at least Santa Barbara County. (3)
Beach foredune plant communities where host plant is present. (1)
Adults recorded March to October. (2)
Larval host plants are Abronia latifolia and A. umbellata.
Life Cycle
Excerpted from Powell (1991):
The larvae mine the leaves of Abronia latifolia and occasionally A. umbellata growing in close proximity to latifolia. There is considerable variation in mine form depending upon leaf thickness and other habitat factors. Typically larvae form a blotch-like mine basally in the leaf, from which digitate feeding tunnels project; often after mining out about half the leaf contents, the larva moves to another leaf. In thick-leafed plants such as Abronia maritima and A. latifolia, mines often are confined to the lower portion of the leaves and are not easily visible from above, and all of the late instar feeding may occur within one, or two overlapping leaves. In thin-leafed hosts (e.g. A. umbellata), several adjacent leaves are incorporated into a webbed shelter. Frass is ejected from a hole basally in the mine, where it lodges in silk webbing. In sand verbenas this usually is attached from the underside of the leaf, and the mine is evidenced by a glob of webbing caked with sand and frass.
Excerpted from Powell (1991):
"The adults are diurnal and are encountered on sunny days perching and mating on the larval food plant. On windblown coastal dunes they often are found on the sand nearby. In appearance, they have been likened to small jumping spiders (Salticidae), which are common in dune habitats; when the moths are viewed from behind, the bulging metallic colored spots resemble the eyes of a salticid. L. elegans were observed nectaring on Mesembryanthemum (Aizoaceae), an African plant growing interspersed with Abronia on beach dunes at Monterey Bay."
Print References
Powell, J. A. 1991. A review of Lithariapteryx (Heliodinidae), with description of an elegant new species from coastal sand dunes in California. Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society 45(2): 89-104. (1)
Powell & Opler(2), pg. 110