Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Greya moth ~ 04/15/14 ~ Pinnacles


Paul showed me this tiny moth nectaring on a woodland star.  In the sunlight, it has a lovely pearly sheen.  He said they can also be found with their butts stuck in there.  Some Greya spp. are known to lay eggs in the calyx, which also serves as an effective means of pollination for the flower.  Reportedly, the larvae feed on the developing seed, although later instars and other Greya spp. can also mine leaves. The Thompson Lab at UC Santa Cruz has been looking into the coevolutionary relationship between Greya moths and their host plants across western North America, including at Pinnacles.  The two reported spp. for Pinnacles are G. obscura (more info) and G. politella (more info).  Paul and I have been going back and forth over the ID of this particular individual.  My vote is G. obscura, but if questioned enough, I'll double-check ad nauseam.  I've asked opinions from others, and everyone has their own preferred way at arriving at an ID possibility:  wing pattern and size, behavior on specific host or nectar sources, dissection of genitalia, DNA analysis.


Bob Bushell said...

The moth is outstanding, love it.

Katie (Nature ID) said...

Thanks, Bob. This is an important moth in the study of coevolution.