Sorting out Feather-edged and Heppner's Petrophila

This journal post is a follow-up to my "A-hah!" moment published in early August*. I’m at a point in my next manuscript on the genus Petrophila that I need to sort out all the Texas observations of Feather-edged (fulicalis) and Heppner’s (heppneri) on iNaturalist which I was previously confusing. For the record, the two may be separated by the following set of field marks:

Fulicalis is overall a darker brown moth, usually with less orange in the various patches. On the FW, the pale speckled PM area has two or three conspicuous dark dots around its perimeter. Also on the FW, the orange tornal streak and the orange terminal band are separated at the base (at the anal angle). On the HW, the narrow pale median line is actually well-silvered; this can look whitish at some angles.

Heppneri: Overall somewhat paler brown with more apparent orange tint in various portions. The pale PM area of the FW is surrounded by a dusky circle but there are usually no conspicous dark dots around its margin. On the FW, the orange tornal streak and the orange terminal band are connected (wear can obscure this). On the HW, the pale median line is basically white, lacking any obvious silver scaling.

Both species have a dark capline over the top of some of the black HW eyespots. This capline tends to be shorter on fulicalis (just over 2 eyespots) but this is highly variable and subject to wear, or often not visible in photos.

Here is a typical fulicalis, documented by @sambiology in Throckmorton County:
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/28699517

and another in Hood County by @annikaml:
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/29283545

Here are a couple of the many beautiful heppneri documented by @ptexis in Val Verde County:
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/55393704

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/18635795

and another heppneri documented in Kerr County by @sambiology:
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/4184733

As I sort out the images, I have found that true Heppner’s Petrophila is confined to the southern half of the Edwards Plateau, documented thus far only in the following counties: Bandera, Blanco, Edwards, Kerr, Kimble, Real, Uvalde, and Val Verde. Records of this species pair outside of this region, such as north and east Texas, are known to or likely to refer to Feather-edged (e.g. a literature record by Blanchard & Knudson (1983) for Colorado County).

* See: https://www.inaturalist.org/journal/gcwarbler/39051-another-a-hah-moment-with-petrophila-moths

Lähettänyt gcwarbler gcwarbler, 4. syyskuuta 2020 21:16

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Thank you, Chuck, for constantly trying to sort out our moths! Great descriptions of the two species!

Lähettänyt annikaml 5 kuukautta sitten (Lippu)

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