Noctuidae - Acontiinae






Ponometia bicolorata (Barnes and McDunnough)

Tarachidia bicolorata Barnes and McDunnough, 1912, Contr. Nat. Hist. Lepid. N. Am., 1(5):26, pl. 1, fig. 24.

Diagnosis: Ponometia bicolorata is a tropical species reaching the southwestern portions of the United States. The species is sexually dimorphic. In males the basal half of the forewing is yellow with a strong green tinge to it. In contrast the outer half of the forewing is dark brown with a rough appearance to it. The postmedial line is a slanting line consisting of a series of irregular black dashes. The thorax is yellow-green. The hindwing is heavily suffused with dark brown. The female is also two-toned, but in the opposite direction. The lower two-thirds of the forewing are some shade of brown, ranging from dark brown or gray-brown to orange-brown. The upper third of the forewing along the costa is dull yellow. In a few female species there is a slight indication of a vertical postmedial line. Forewing expanse from base to apex in one selected individual 10 mm.

Distribution: (Based only on specimens in the USNM). This species has its northern limits in western Texas and southern Arizona. Its range extends southward throughout Mexico and Central America. It has also been collection in north-central Venezuela.

Identification Quality: Fair. J.D. Lafontaine of Agriculture Canada has unpublished mitochondrial DNA data suggesting the existence of more than a single species.

Larva: See photograph below.

Foodplants: This species has been reared from Heliotropium indicum (Boraginaceae) and Simsia foetida (Asteraceae) by D. Janzen and W. Hallwachs in Costa Rica.

Color Photograph courtesy of D. Janzen and W. Hallwachs, University of Pennsylvania

Distribution map based on specimens in the USNM

Ponometia bicolorata

Ponometia bicolorata slightly overlaps the range of Ponometia semiflava. Ponometia semiflava is a brighter and prettier version of bicolorata. In particular the yellow area of the forewing is bright not yellow and hardly, if any, tinged with green. A slanting postmedial line is present in both species, the line is much more definite and distinct in semiflava than in bicolorata. The outer area of the forewing is smooth in appearance and medium brown. This area in bicolorata is dark brown and rough in appearance in bicolorata.

Ponometia clausula also occurs in the southwestern regions of the United States with bicolorata. However clausula is the smallest of these three species. In addition the outer half of the forewing of clausula is light grey heavily speckled with white.

Similar Species

Ponometia semiflava

Ponometia clausula