Butterflies and Moths of Southern Vancouver Island--Jeremy B. Tatum



Rheumaptera hastata

Spear Moth, or Argent and Sable



This moth could be mistaken for Mesoleuca gratulata, though it flies in the summer rather than the spring. In this species there is a white band through the middle of the forewing, and, projecting outwards from the middle of the band is a characteristic white spear-shaped mark, which accounts for the North American name of the species. The name Argent and Sable was given by the eighteenth century English lepidopterist Moses Harris (who also made some of the first illustrations of Canadian Lepidoptera), who wrote: "This Moth, which is esteemed a Curiosity, is very scarce, nor has any Body been so lucky as to discover either the Caterpillar or the Chrysalis." Let us hope that he can now log into this Web site, so that he can see the shiny and rather stubby caterpillar, which could be mistaken for a noctuid until its legs are counted. There are several colour forms - brown, olive or black. In Britain and much of North America the foodplant is given as Birch; here, where it is by no means "very scarce", it is usually found on Alder. The pupa overwinters.

The scientific name has sometimes been given as Eulype hastata.

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