Noctuidae - Psaphidinae - Feraliini





Feralia jocosa (Guenée) 1852

Diphtera jocosa Guenée, 1852, in Boisduval and Guenée, Histoire Naturelle des Insectes, Lépidoptéres, 5:37.

Feralia furtiva Smith, 1909, Jour. New York Ent. Soc., 17:57.

Diagnosis: Feralia jocosa is a variable species of the forests of northern North America. The species is variable in superficial appearance. The commonest form is uniform apple green with thick antemedial and postmedial lines, white bordered with black on both inner and outer sides. The black markings on the outer side of the postmedial line arre never as strong or as distinctive as in deceptiva. Variable amounts of black obscure the markings in other specimens, particularly in the basal and median areas. The subterminal area seems immune to the black blotches. The subterminal area is more often yellow green rather than apple green in specimens with extensive black areas. A distinctive third form exists with a rusty-green forewing with strongly contrasting whitish markings. The green colors of the forewing are strongly susceptible to fading through age or moisture. The eyes of both jocosa and deceptiva are reduced in size and a wide space exists beween the upper margin of the eye and the ocellus. Wing length from base to apex: mean = 15.07 mm., standard deviation = 0.52 mm., n = 10.

Distribution: The adults fly in April and May and probably overwinter as pupae. Feralia jocosa is most common in the forests of the northeastern United States and Canada. Feralia jocosa is common from Nova Scotia south as far as western Maryland and southern Ohio. The distribution map shows specimens I have seen but Prentice (1962) records a distribution stretching throughout almost all of the Canadian Provinces south of the taiga zone from Newfoundland in the east to central British Columbia in the west. These records are based on larvae collected by the Canadian Forest Survey. Prentice (1962) does not record Feralia deceptiva and I suspect most records of jocosa from the Pacific coast region of British Columbia are actually deceptiva. A single specimen of jocosa labeled Victoria, British Columbia is present in the USNM, although it may be mislabeled. The line of demarcation between jocosa and deceptiva needs to be studied further. The variability of jocosa has already been discussed. The percentage of melanic forms may be a function of location, but I cannot determine any details of geographic differences from the specimens available. I have not detected any other geographical variation.

Identification Quality: Excellent

Larva: The larva has been described by Crumb (1956). The larva has been described by McCabe (1991) who published a photograph of the larva. The larva is green with conspicuous longitudinal white lines. The spiracles are white and margined dorsally with a strong red line. Yellow spots are present on the prolegs. The head is green with a few black flecks. The larva, according to McCabe, is indistinguishable from comstocki, but may be separated from major by the eveness of the subdorsal line in major and its periodic constriction in jocosa and comstocki.

Foodplants: Crumb (1956) lists black spruce (Picea mariana (Mill.) B.S.P.), balsam fir (Abies balsamea (L.) Mill.), and hemlock (Tsuga canadensis (L.) Carriere) as hosts. Prentice (1962) lists many host plants of the genera Abies, Picea, and Tsuga. The commonest foodplant was Abies balsamea.


Feralia jocosa

The closest relative of jocosa is deceptiva. Feralia deceptiva is a larger species than jocosa and has a nearly disjunct range. Feralia jocosa occurs through most of northern North America from Nova Scotia in the east, westward to eastern and central British Columbia. Feralia deceptiva is apparently restricted to the coastal areas of the west coast. Feralia deceptiva has a wingspan from base to apex of 17 18 mm; the corresponding measurement in jocosa is 14 16 mm. Feralia deceptiva appears to lack the variability in forewing coloration of jocosa, and is uniform apple green without black forms. The forewing postmedial line of deceptiva is strongly accented with black. Black scaling also occurs along the outer margin of the postmedial line of jocosa, but never as distinctly so. The median area of jocosa always seems to have at least some black scaling. The median area of deceptiva lacks any black scaling. I have found no consistent differences between the male or female genitalia of the two species.

Similar Species

Feralia deceptiva