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Species Lycomorpha pholus - Black-and-yellow Lichen Moth - Hodges#8087

Red and Black Bug - Lycomorpha pholus Little red and black moth - Lycomorpha pholus Black & Gold moth ID? - Lycomorpha pholus black-and-yellow lichen moth - Lycomorpha pholus Black and Yellow Lichen Moth? - Lycomorpha pholus Black-and-yellow Lichen Moth - Lycomorpha pholus Black and orange Creature - Lycomorpha pholus Lycomorpha pholus
Show images of: caterpillars · adults · both
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths)
Superfamily Noctuoidea (Owlet Moths and kin)
Family Erebidae
Subfamily Arctiinae (Tiger and Lichen Moths)
Tribe Lithosiini (Lichen Moths)
Subtribe Cisthenina
Genus Lycomorpha
Species pholus (Black-and-yellow Lichen Moth - Hodges#8087)
Hodges Number
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Lycomorpha pholus (Drury)
Orig. Comb: Sphinx pholus Drury, 1773
Syn: Phalaena pholus (Drury)
* phylogenetic sequence #930201
Wingspan 25-32 mm (Scott, 2010); body length about 10 mm.
Forewing length 12-15 mm. (1)
Adult - body and wings bluish-black. Basal portion of wings yellow, orange, or red; distal portion of wings black. Amount of yellow/orange/red varies, according to published photos and illustrations.
Larva - gray dotted with pale green, sparse long hairs, resemble those of Hypoprepia (Forbes, 1960; Dyar, 1897).
Eastern North America to the Rockies, Alberta south to New Mexico - Map (1)
Mostly: June-Sept (MPG)
Larvae feed on lichens. The strictly diurnal adults are often found on flowers of dogbane (Apocynum, Apocynaceae), goldenbush (Ericameria, Asteraceae) and goldenrod (Solidago, Asteraceae). (1)
Life Cycle
May take several years to develop, especially in the north. Hairy cocoons are attached to rocks or tree trunks near the former food source.
Central North American specimens are subspecies Lycomorpha pholus miniata and show red on the wings; eastern specimens of the nominate race have the red replaced by yellow (paraphrase of Gerald Fauske, Moths of North Dakota).
The red color pattern is thought to be mimicry of poisonous Lycid beetles, such as Calopteron.
Another possibility is the Elderberry Borer.
See Also
Orange-patched Smoky Moth--Pyromorpha dimidiata
See also the presumed model of the mimicry, the Lycid beetles of genus Calopteron.
Print References
Covell Jr., C.V. 1984. A Field Guide to the Moths of Eastern North America. Houghton Mifflin Company. p.61, plate 11 #16 (2)
Drury, D. 1773. Illustrations of Natural History 3: 49, pl.28 f.3
Dyar, H.G. 1897. The larva of Lycomorpha pholus. Psyche 8: 82-83
Powell, J.A. & P.A. Opler 2009. Moths of Western North America. University of California Press. p.266, pl.46.29m (1)
Scott, C. 2010. Black and yellow lichen moth (suggested common name) Lycomorpha pholus (Drury) (Insecta: Lepidoptera: Noctuidae: Arctiinae: Lithosiini). University of Florida EENY 479: 1-5, f.1-17 (PDF)
Internet References
distribution in Canada list of provinces (U. of Alberta, using CBIF data)
Works Cited
1.Moths of Western North America
Powell and Opler. 2009. UC Press.
2.Peterson Field Guides: Eastern Moths
Charles V. Covell. 1984. Houghton Mifflin Company.