Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Mocis marcida (Guenée, 1852)
Remigia marcida Guenée, 1852
M. perlata (Walker, 1858)
* Phylogenetic sequence #930943
One of 5 species in this genus in North America.(1)
Wingspan about 47 mm, based on two photos by Jim Vargo at MPG.
Adult: forewing usually purplish-brown (sometimes yellowish-brown or pale gray) with darker shading in subterminal area, and usually paler shading in terminal area; lines thin, distinct at close range but showing little contrast against ground color and therefore not noticeable at a distance; PM line bulges inward just above inner margin but the bulge is faint, giving the illusion that the PM line stops before reaching the inner margin; subterminal line a series of black dots; hindwing yellowish-brown or orangish-brown with diffuse grayish shading distally, and dark PM and terminal lines.
Larva: Mocis species are recognized by intersegmental dorsal black spots between A1-A2 and A2-A3 (but concealed in fold when larva is at rest); prolegs lacking on A3 and A4; body yellowish-brown with broad chocolate subdorsal and subventral stripes; wide yellowish-brown lateral area often divided by narrow dark brown stripe running through spiracles from T1 to A8; head pale brown with numerous fine stripes and contrasting white lines
[adapted from description by Wagner et al, who say that Mocis larvae cannot be reliably identified to species]
Coastal North Carolina to Florida, west to Texas, rarely straying northward as far as New York. (3)
Moth Photographers Group
- large range map with some collection dates.
Fields, marshes, grasslands, and other open grassy areas.
Adults fly from April to November, or all year in southern Florida and Texas.
Peak numbers from July to October in Florida. (5)
larvae from late May onward, or all year in the far south
Multiple generations per year.
"Unlike most catocaline larvae, Mocis caterpillars do not wriggle violently when accosted, but rather simply drop to the ground--a habit shared by many grass feeders--where their coloration blends in with dead, withered grass blades." [David Wagner et al]
Adults of other Mocis
species have a PM line that continues straight to the inner margin of the forewing (compare pinned adult photos of other species by Jim Vargo at MPG
Mocis caterpillars may be confused with those of Caenurgia, Caenurgina, and Ptichodis
Guenée, 1852. Noct. 3: 317. (7)
Hampson, G.F. 1913. Catalogue of the Lepidoptera Phalænæ in the British Museum. 82
pinned adult images
(James Adams, Dalton State College, Georgia)
presence in New York; list
(Timothy McCabe, Olive Natural Heritage Society, New York)