Condica mersa (Morrison) 1875
Diagnosis: Condica mersa is a close relative of the three species in the videns complex. The overall appearance is very dull but, in its way, distinctive. The forewing is a sooty black. All of the maculation is obscure. The reniform spot is kidney shaped and usually surrounded by an obscure white ring. The ring is strongest on the outer side of the reniform spot and sometimes appears as a white accenting. The basal line is absent and the antemedial line is obscure, but sometimes present as a double, irregular line. There are two black streaks in the position of the claviform spot. The orbicular spot is obscure and oblique, slightly defined by a very obscure outer ring. The postmedial line is obscure, black, and strongly dentate. The subterminal line is also strongly dentate. The subterminal line divides a darker postmedial area from a lighter subterminal region. There is a series of black dots in the position of the terminal line. The veins are strongly streaked with black along the subterminal line. The hindwing in both sexes is basically white, but with a very strong suffusion of dull black making the wing appear dull black.
The male genitalia are very similar to those of the species of the videns complex. However the basal lobe of the vesica is covered with denticules, not spines, and these denticules are continuous with the denticules found on the distal tail of the vesica. The clasper of valve is relatively short and straight, neither curved as in temecula or videns or long with the apex curved as in discistriga.
Distribution: This is so far a very rare species in
collections. It has so far been collected in southwestern Idaho, northwestern
Oregon, northeastern California, and northwestern Nevada. Although it
is difficult to make any firm statements on the basis of so few specimens,
the specimens from the Oregon-Idaho region seem to be slightly more strongly
marked than those from California and Nevada. In particular the contrast
between the postmedial and subterminal regions of the forewing is stronger
in the more northern specimens than in those from California and Nevada.
Identification Quality: Excellent
This species might be confused with some local populations of discistriga that are suffused with a great deal of black. However in these populations of discistriga the costal region of the forewing is always distinctly lighter than the rest of the wing. In contrast the forewing of mersa does not have a distinctly lighter costal region. The differences in the male genitalia between the two species are distinctive as well.