Silkmoth from Trinidad: Apatelodes nina

Subject: Trinidad Moth
Location: Trinidad & Tobago
March 27, 2016 9:32 am
I found this moth (I suspect it might be a Notodontidae) on the verandah roof of the Asa Wright Nature Centre in Trinidad on 11 March 2016. Could you possibly identify it please?
Regards
Signature: John Perry

Possibly Silkmoth
Possibly Silkmoth

Dear John,
We do not believe this is a Prominent Moth in the family Notodontidae.  Your moth reminds us very much of the North American Spotted Apatelodes, one of the Silkmoths in the family Bombycidae, but we have not had any luck locating a matching image on the internet.  We will continue to research your request, and we will also enlist the assistance of our readership. 

Thanks very much. Prominent was just a guess as it looks vaguely similar to the ones we have here in the UK. I would be very interested to know the results of your research.
Regards
John

Julian Donahue responds
Hi Daniel,
Try Mimallonidae.
Julian

Despite Julian’s suggestion that we research Sack-Bearer Moths from the family Mimallonidae, a family also represented on BugGuide, we have not had any luck with a species.  The family is well represented on Discover Life, but no images match the submitted image.  We did however locate this pdf  on ttfnc entitled On the Number of Moths (Lepidoptera) that Occur in Trinidad and Tobago by Matthew J. W. Cock, and we suspect we may find the answer there if we hunt more.  We will attempt to contact the author, Matthew J.W. Cock for assistance.

Hi again Daniel
Having just looked up Spotted Apatelodes on the web and seen some pics, it reminds me of a moth pic I took at the same place and time as the one I submitted. I attach a very poor pic of it.  I can’t find any evidence that Spotted Apatelodes is found in Trinidad – but it might be closely related.
Regards
John

Same or Different Species???
Same or Different Species???

Thanks for the update John,
This new image does support our initial impression that your moth may be in the family Bombycidae, and we wonder if both of your images are the same species.  When conditions are right, moths (and other insects) from the same species emerge simultaneously which benefits the species as individuals have a better chance of locating a mate.  Since your two images were taken “at the same place and time” we suspect they are the same species as there are similarities in the overall structure, though the markings are not evident on the second image.  Hopefully Matthew J. W. Cock will respond to our request after we located his contact information on the internet.

Julian Donahue supplies additional information
Mimallonidae used to be called Lacosomidae.
But on second thought, and after reviewing the attached PDF (where you can see images of mimallonids–they all pretty much look alike), I think that this moth is a geometrid (forewing cubitus vein appears to be 3-branched).
Here’s the attachment!  15465-5006-1-PB
Julian

Thanks Julian,
I have also written to Matthew J.W. Cock who wrote this article.

Matthew J.W. Cock responds
Dear Daniel
This is a male of what I am calling Apatelodes nina (Stoll) sp. (Apatelodidae).  However, this is a genus and family that needs revision with many undescribed species, so things may change when further work is done.
Kind regards, Matthew

Thank you for your help.  I’m impressed at the speed of your replies!
Regards
John

 

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