Condica cupentia (Cramer)1780
Diagnosis: Condica cupentia is a sexually dimorphic
tropical and subtropical New World species. The species throughout most
of its range has a distinctive appearance, although other neotropical
species not found in North America have the same look. The forewing of
the male throughout most of the range of the species has extensive white
areas contrasting with a dark brown patche in the top half of the basal
area and a dark brown area in the upper half of the upper half of the
subterminal region, running from the costa to about two-thirds down the
postmedial line. There is an extension of this dark patch to the outer
margin cutting the terminal area into an upper and lower white patches,
the lower patch being continuous with the white of the median area. The
reniform spot and orbicular spot are completed obscured by the white in
the median area. The dorsum of the thorax in the male is also white. In
the female the white is replaced by gray-blue and the contrast between
the lighter and darker regions is not nearly as striking.
Distribution: This distribution of this species includes most of the tropical and subtropical regions of the New World. In the United States the "typical" population has been collected only in extreme southern Texas. The isolated distinctive population of the southeastern United States occurs throughout most of Florida. It has also been collected in South Carolina and Mississippi and probably occurs throughout the southeastern United States. In the males of this southeastern population there is variation in the amount of reddish-suffusion and in consequence variability in the contrast between the lighter and dark portions of the wing.
In the southeastern United States population of cupentia adults have been collected primarily in the spring and the fall.
Identification Quality: Excellent
Foodplants: There is a single specimen in the USNM from near Havana, Cuba reared from Pluchia odorata (Asteraceae). In keeping with the genera tendencies in the genus, cupentia probably feeds on a variety of herbaceous composites.
Completely accurate separation of females of confederata and cupentia depends on examining the female genitalia. However the majority of specimens can be distinguished by the color of the forewing in the median area. In confederata the median area along the inner margin of the forewing has scattered red-brown scales. In contrast the inner margin of the forewing of cupentia lacks these scattered dark red-brown scales. In the female genitalia there is a distinct difference in the shape of the ostium. In confederata the ostium is quadrate with a v-shaped caudal opening. In contrast the ostium of cupentia is laterally elongate with a very irregular caudal margin. The shape of the ostium can sometimes, but not always, be seen by brushing away the scales from the tip of the abdomen.
Because of the distinct population of cupentia in the southeastern United States versus the more normal populations found in southern Texas, the discussion is divided by range.
Southern Texas - In cupentia the reniform spot and orbicular spot of the forewing are indistinct and obliterated by the white median area. The claviform spot is absent or only vaguely indicated. In the male genitalia the clasper of the right valve consists of a chitinous plate with with an outward thick hook. The basal process of the sacculus is a sharp projection. The forewing of confederata from this region has a distinct reniform spot and oribicular, and they are not obliterated by the white of the median area. A claviform spot is present. The clasper of the right valve is a strong, triangular projection without an associated chitinous plate. The basal process of the sacculus is broad, not elongate or pointed.
Southeastern United States - The white of the median area and subapical blotch are tinged with dull red-brown in cupentia, but is not in confederata. The claviform spot is usually present in cupentia, but is smaller than in confederata where it is strong, black, and constrasts with the the white of the median area. The male genitalic differences discussed above, of course, also hold true.
Condica confederata male
Condica confederata female
Condica cupentia female ostium
Condica confederata female ostium