Red-winged Wave Moth
Observation date: March 26, 2015
Date notes: First observed 03/21/2015
Submitted by: Kristie Nelson
Specimen type: Photograph
Observation notes: Had me fooled for a butterfly initially. Location: about 7000’ in Mono County, California. Near Mono Lake & east edge of Yosemite. Muddy bank of a small spring right on the escarpment base, where the steep slope goes up into the Sierra Nevada, but area is thin riparian surrounded by Sagebrush. I’m a life-long birder, dabbling in Dragonflies and B-flies/moths. The Eastern Sierra is a fascinating melting pot of Great Basin and Mountain species – often “West-slope” spp. (those found on west slope of Sierra Nevada) differ from those on the east-slope. This moth is frequenting a small spring. Diurnal and active in warm temps. Acts like a butterfly (in my limited experience) by flashing its wings very frequently, having a spread-wing pattern. Very fluttery, most often in flight than landing – my first impression was that it was a Pygmy Blue (so small, but a little bigger than that species). For reference, Milbert’s Tortoiseshell and Satyr Commas are common here. This is a very unusual spring season here (drought & hot; it’s been hot since early Feb.). In a typical year, this spot would be snow-bound or have snow nearby, and temps would be cold. This year, we’ve had temps regularly hitting the mid-upper 60’s since early February. It’s unprecedented, and I’m guessing a lot of the insects are establishing early emergence dates for the region/elevation. Another reason to be curious about spp. Identification. I’ve seen Orangetips as well – not sure if we’d have “Stella” or “thoosa” Sara’s here. Any idea?
Verified by: Josiah Gilbert
Verified date: March 27, 2015
Coordinator notes: Nice moth! This is a male (see "feathered" antenna).