New York Natural Heritage Program
Slender Flower Moth
Schinia bifascia Hübner, 1818
Insects

Identifying Characteristics [-]
The slender flower moth is cryptically colored. Similar to many other flower moths (Wagner et al. 2008), its coloration may be variable. Moths classified as Schinia gracilenta, which may be synonymous with S. bifascia (Hardwick 1996), have been documented to occur in various shades of gray and olive green (Brou 2007). The wingspan is approximately 28 mm. The caterpillar has a head that is large relative to the rest of the body (Wagner et al. 2008).

Best Life Stage for Proper Identification [-]
The adult is the best life stage for identification.

Behavior [-]
This species has one annual generation. Individuals perch and feed on the surface of flowers. Eggs are laid in flowers. The eggs develop quickly, and the larval (caterpillar) stage is usually three to four weeks or less. Mature caterpillars develop in the fall. Pupation occurs under the ground (Wagner et al. 2008).

Diet [-]
The food source of this species is unknown. A seaside goldenrod, groundsel tree, and salt marsh elder are suggested food sources. Moths classified as Schinia gracilenta, which may be synonymous with S. bifascia (Hardwick 1996), have been documented to use annual marsh elder (Iva annua) as a food source for larvae, and to often be found with marsh elder (Iva frutescens) in salt marshes in North Carolina (Wagner et al. 2008). I. annua does not occur in New York State, but marsh elder (I. frutescens ssp. oraria) is characteristic of salt shrub communities in New York State, and is an associated species in the state's coastal salt ponds, brackish interdunal swales, and sea level fens.
Slender Flower Moth Images
click to enlarge
The Best Time to See
The best time to see slender flower moths in New York State is during their flight season, from late July to early August.
J F M A M J J A S O N D
Present Reproducing
The time of year you would expect to find Slender Flower Moth present (blue shading) and reproducing (orange shading) in New York.