I’ve always wondered just what you’d get if you crossed Shrek with Frankenstein… well, it’s obvious innit – Schreckensteinia! Kidding aside, the tiny moths in the family Schreckensteiniidae are a most interesting bunch and I was delighted to pluck one off the sheet the night before last. Until recently I think I would have been stumped at the strange appearance of this moth, but last year I was fortunate to see another member of the clan called Scheckensteinia festaliella whilst I was in Kent UK – a unique and weird-looking creature! The image was still, relatively, fresh in my moth-cluttered mind.
They are very small moths that have rather pointed wings and have the odd habit of holding the hind pair of spiny-clad legs outwards and elevated – pretty unique-looking. The one I caught here is most probably S. erythriella. I’m leaving it as a “tentative” right now as there is a similar lookalike species, but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t occur in Ontario. The one I saw in UK does actually occur in Ontario as as introduced species, but it is larger and more boldly patterned on the forewing. The larva of that one feed on raspberry and blackberry. S. erythriella feeds on the flowers or fruits of sumac.
Above is Scheckensteinia festaliella, photographed in Kent, UK last July – rather boldly marked I’m sure you’ll agree.
And this is what I’m pretty sure is S. erythriella from Toronto, very plain!
Another view showing the remarkable hind legs! Small, but most interesting, yes?
Other moths from the night included…
The euro import Common Swift – Toronto is probably the best place in North America to see this small Ghost Moth.
A small Olethreutine called Gretchena amatana.
And a really tiny (3mm total length) Ectoedemia species that I can’t identify. Nice purplish tinge on this one…