Fotella notalis Grote 1882
Diagnosis: Fotella notalis is a small (forewing expanse between 10-13 mm from the base of the wing to the apex) species of the drier desert regions of the southwestern United States. The species is not particularly common in collections, although its modest coloration and small size may keep it from been collected. It is superficially nondescript. The front has a small, ovate frontal process and a tibial claw is absent. The species is sexually dimorphic. The male has very long cilia on the ventral surface of the antenna giving the antenna almost a fuzzy appearance under the microscope. The male forewing is a light tan-brown, flecked with a few black scales. The most distinctive feature of the male forewing is a highly dentate postmedial line with outwardly projecting teeth accented with black. The reniform spot is present as an obscure lighter lunule slightly accented with dark brown on its inner side. There is often a dark brown bar between the reniform spot and the postmedial line. The rest of the forewing maculation is represented by at most by extremely vague brown smudges. The hindwing of the male is light brown, infused with darker brown or gray to varying degrees depending on the population. The female is more obscure than the male and on the average a little larger. Although variable the forewing is usually suffused with dark gray or black. The only distinct maculation are light spots representing the the orbicular spot and reniform spot and light scaling in the terminal region. The color of the female forewing is variable however. In particular some specimens are not completely suffused with dark gray or black and the dark color may be concentrated (although not confined) to two streaks, one through the orbicular spot and reniform spot and another running from the base of the wing to the tornus. In these lighter specimens the light scaling along the outer margin is more conspicuous than in the totally dark specimens. There is a single female from southern Arizona that has the brown coloration of the male, although without the distinct postmedial line.
Distribution: This species seems to occur mostly in
the dry deserts of the southwestern United States. In the east it occurs
in the Big Bend region of western Texas. The species has been collected
in the southern half of Arizona and in the drier parts of southern California
and soutnern Nevada. Part of the synonymy of notalis can be blamed on
individual variation. However the species does have some significant geographic
variation as well, although this variation is not reflected in the male
genitalia and rarely in the female genitalia. The females in the "typical"
population are mostly heavily suffused with black. In contrast females
from western Texas are not as heavily suffused. There is a significant
difference in the female genitalia of the Texas population from those
populations from Arizona and California. The corpus bursae is much longer
in the Texas population than elsewhere in the range of the species. The
Texas population may represent a separate species, but there are no visible
differences in the male genitalia. For the moment the specimens from Texas
are treated as a distinct population, but not a species. The females are
not as heavily suffused with black as in Arizona. Males from San Diego
and Imperial counties in southern California are smaller than those from
elsewhere in the range and females tend to look lighter and grayer than
those from other parts of the species range.
Identification Quality: Excellent
No Similar Species