[Leps-l] Adela purpurea lekking

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Jun 25, 2020, 5:25:11 PM6/25/20

For the past 5 years, I have been watching Adela purpurea here in Connecticut.  I was surprised to see the males lekking above pussy willow as I had not read about that behavior.  I’m wondering if anyone else has seen this.  Also, does anyone actually have a female in their collection?  I do not think I have seen one yet and all the specimens at UCONN were males.

Here is a video showing the lekking behavior (the last section is slowed down by 2x).  UInfortunately, it only shows one male flying at a time.  I have seen groups of over 20 and maybe 30, but typically 1 to 5..  There are some still photos of up to four males in the frame at the end.


I would enjoy comparing notes with anyone else who has been observing A. purpurea.

Jeff Fast


(860) 985 - 6321

David Hamilton Cox

Jun 26, 2020, 9:24:11 PM6/26/20

I have not observed lekking behavior in Adela purpurea; I'm interested to see that
term used for Lepidoptera. But I see this species occasionally, usually on Fleabane (Erigeron),
and was wondering while trying to take a photograph of one two days ago if the color
was strutural rather than pigment; as the wings look mostly black from most angles,
but quite purple from some angles. Here is a photo I took two days ago of one; it
took many tries to show this much purple.


I've read about structural colors in butterflies, but not moths, so I was curious.
Also, it would be interesting to know if there has been any speculation for the
unusual length of the antennae.

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