New York Natural Heritage Program
A Zale Moth
Zale largera (Smith, 1908)

General Description [-]
The moth is powdery gray and dusted with some black (Forbes 1954). The caterpillars are highly variable in coloration and may appear with or without stripes (Wagner et al. 2008).

Identifying Characteristics [-]
The moth is typically powdery gray and dusted with some black. It has a pale lunule on outer edge of reniform and a red-brown shade beyond reniform; median shade always dark, contrasting in light specimens, its inner edge runs far before the reniform (Forbes 1954). The description of the caterpillar was reported for Zale duplicata in Wagner et al. (2008) and Zale largera caterpillars may be similar. They are variable in color and patterning and may be green, red, maroon-gray, or brown and with or without striping. An identifying characteristic of these caterpillars is closely set protruberances over A8 and an integument that is somewhat smoother and more glossy than other species in the Zale genus (Wagner et al. 2008).

Best Life Stage for Proper Identification [-]
Adult moths and possibly caterpillars may be identified by an expert familiar with the genus.

Behavior [-]
Zale largera moths are nocturnal and may be captured with black lights.

Diet [-]
Zale largera caterpillars feed exclusively on jack pine (Pinus banksiana).
The Best Time to See
The seasonal phenology described in the pheneology chart is for Zale duplicata a similar species as was reported in Forbes 1954. Zale largera was once thought to belong to Zale duplicata as the food-plant race Zale duplicata largera. The phenology for Zale duplicata largera was not described separately in Forbes 1954. The exact phenology for what is now known as a separate species, Zale largera, in New York is unknown. If similar to Zale duplicata, the moth is active in May and early June. The caterpillars are present in late June through August. There is also a pupa stage and the exact timing of emergence in New York is unknown.
Reproducing Larvae present and active
The time of year you would expect to find A Zale Moth reproducing (blue shading) and larvae present and active (orange shading) in New York.