alien or not?

jh jhimmel at
Mon Aug 26 22:10:29 EDT 2002

Re: alien or not?I have found A. punctella in my hometown of Killingworth
(Connecticut, USA).  There ain't an ailanthus for miles!  I had wondered
what else would have been feeding on, but did not rule out it having made a
long trip.


John Himmelman
Killingworth, CT
jhimmel at

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  -----Original Message-----
  From: owner-leps-l at [mailto:owner-leps-l at]On
Behalf Of Woody Woods
  Sent: Monday, August 26, 2002 8:10 PM
  To: Jim Mason; Leps-L
  Subject: Re: alien or not?

  Thanks for the Holland's input-- I really should hunt down one of those
apparently invaluable books.

  It turns out that Lynn Scott, who answered me offline, had taken a photo
of A. Punctella to the Canadian National Collection in Ottawa while on a
different mission; the folks there, including Dr. J. Donald Lafontaine-- to
whom I have not yet written-- referred to it as native, but said that the
host species prior to the arrival of Ailanthis was not known.

  The friend who took the photo (I'll find out what kind of camera, Jim-- I
don't know) maintains a website about alien plant species, and says that
Ailanthus came here in the late 1800s, and was first introduced to
Nantucket, where the photo was taken, in 1913. She has since found that A.
punctella was first recorded there in the 1920s, according to Johnson,
Charles Willison. 1930. A List of the Insect Fauna of Nantucket,
Massahusetts. The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association Vol. III no. 2. 174.

  Anyway, perhaps after a few more communications we might have a better
idea of whether there is a hitherto unidentified hostplant for A. punctella.

  By the way, Lynn mentioned that her photo of punctella was a first
sighting for the Ottawa area, and that Ailanthus is not found that far


  William A. Woods Jr.
  Department of Biology
  University of Massachusetts Boston
  100 Morrissey Blvd
  Boston, MA 02125

  Lab: 617-287-6642
  Fax: 617-287-6650

  From: "Jim Mason" <Jim at>

    Date: Mon, 26 Aug 2002 08:42:48 -0600
    To: "Leps-L" <LEPS-L at LISTS.YALE.EDU>
    Cc: <woody.woods at>
    Subject: Re: alien or not?

    Holland's book (1903) shows two different species of Atteva.  But on the
Natureserve web site, the genus is listed as monotypic with that species
name (punctella).  I found no mention of point of origin, but it reasonable
to presume it followed its host plant into North America.  Nice picture!
What was the camera used to take it?

    Jim Mason, Naturalist
    Jim at
    Great Plains Nature Center
    6232 E. 29th Street North
    Wichita, KS 67220-2200
    316-683-5499 x103 - voice
    316-688-9555 - fax <>

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Woody Woods <mailto:woody.woods at>
      To: Leps-l <mailto:Leps-l at>
      Sent: Friday, August 23, 2002 11:01 AM
      Subject: alien or not?

      A friend found this Ailanthus Webworm moth (Fred SaintOurs is pretty
sure it's Atteva punctella-- do you agree?). It was on an Ailanthus
altissima sapling on Nantucket (off the coast of Massachusetts).

      She can find no confirmation as to whether this moth is alien or
native. Do any of you know? Ailanthus altissima is Asian in origin, and such
information as she has found so far makes no mention of any other (native)


      William A. Woods Jr.
      Department of Biology
      University of Massachusetts Boston
      100 Morrissey Blvd
      Boston, MA 02125

      Lab: 617-287-6642
      Fax: 617-287-6650

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