Enigmatic Cloudywing (Thorybes sp.) - Cumberland County , NJ - 5/11/02
Click on image for a larger view



This fresh Cloudywing is one of the enigmas that cause confusion with the aptly named Confused Cloudywing (Thorybes confusis) that can't be reliably identified in the field. This individual would even be extreme for Confused in that it has no markings at all in the wings except the spot bands on the leading edge of the forewing. In addition, I could not see a "white patch" at the base of the bend of the antennae either in the field or in the pictures. This is said to be lacking in Confused and Northern Cloudywing (Thorybes pylades) , and present in Southern Cloudywing (Thorybes bathyllus). The warm brown coloration appears closer to Southern or Confused, and not the duller brown of Northern. I could not determine the color of the palps, but they certainly weren't bright white, but "whitish". The habitat was dry and sandy, said to be the preference of Confused.

The Clincher? Klots (1951) states the Confused Cloudywing males lack the costal fold on the forewing that is present in Southern and Northern. If this is correct, I think that I can clearly see a costal fold in the dorsal picture (arrow), indicating that this is a male, and eliminating the possibility of this being Confused Cloudywing. Since it lacked the white patch at the bend in the antennae, Northern Cloudywing would seem to be indicated as the species in the picture. The warm bright color still bothers me for this species, but it is very fresh. I think it is best to leave it at Thorybes sp., probably Northern Cloudywing