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Digital Guide to Moth Identification

990298.0019298Dyspessa ulula (Borkhausen, 1790)
Distribution Data for Dyspessa ulula
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Distribution: Palaearctic distribution, including Iran and Greece (1); not found in North America north of Mexico.
and Size:
Forewing length ranges 10-11mm
Larva and
Host Plants:
Larvae feed on Allium cepa (onion) and A. sativum (garlic) (1).
Larvae are pink, with yellow-orange on the underside, extending to just below the spiracles. Very fine, poorly visible setae.
Field Marks:
Forewings tan with variable white or cream colored markings, and at least 2 visible strigulae near apex; can have several more costal strigulae visible. Forewing fringe white or cream with 6-7 tan spots. Hindwing tan and can have either concolorous fringe, or cream colored fringe with 6-7 tan spots. Visible spots (strigulae) on the hindwing and number of visible costal strigulae may be a sexually dimorphic character (male with spots and greater than 3 costal strigulae visible). Males with pectinate antennae.
Similar Species:
  • Forewing pattern is distinct, although rubbed specimens may resemble Comadia henrici although this species tends to be slightly larger (male=12-15mm, female 16-20mm) (2) and without the tan spots on the forewing fringe. C. henrici is also known for having the longest epiphysis in the genus, being greater than one half the pro-tibia length. The epiphysis in Dyspess ulula is equal to or slightly less than the length of the pro-tibia. This is a reliable character to distinguish these species.
  • Pinned specimens of related species. (Hint: select View by Region on the related species page.)
  • (1) Natural History Museum: HOSTS- website
  • (2) Brown, R. L. 1975. The North American Comadia (Cossidae). Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera. 14:4
Data compiled and contributed by Christi Jaeger, MEM from references cited.

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