Distribution From Coquinbo to the north of Isla Hose in the southern part of Terra del Fuego. Most species occur in southern Central Chile and adjacent Argentina between 36° S and 43° S.
Systematics Revised by Nielsen & Robinson (1983). Monophyly based on two features: the presence of a single pair of mealnized conical projections on the ventro-caudal surface of the vinculum of the male (with the exception of D. patriciae), and an undefined curved pale mark on the forewing (Nielsen & Robinson, 1983 Table 4).
Habitat Forests, northern shrublands, damp sites in steppe closest to the Andes, and pastures. Elevational distribuiton is from sea level to at least the tree-line.
Biology Larvae feed on ground foliage and roots of grasses and and herbaceous plants, possibly also those with woody tissues. Adults of Dalaca pallens emerge in late spring and drop eggs over pastures during flight. Larvae burrow a vertical gallery in the soil and hide in it during daylight. At night, the larvae move to the soil surface consuming leaves and culms. Larvae develop over 6–8 months in soil (Devotto et al., 2007). Larve eat leaves and stems during the day and roots at night, leaving the soil. Hosts also include blueberries, raspberries, myrtle, and forest species such as eucalyptus during establishment (Maldonado et l., 2012). Dalaca pallens is an economically important pest in Chile. Larvae are responsible for significant damage in natural, sowed and regenerated pastures. A density of 50 third instar larvae per square meter can completely defoliate pastures (Maldonado et l., 2012).
References Devotto, L.O. 2007.Diversidad y control biológico de insectos: un enfoque ecológico aplicado al caso de Beauveria bassiana (bals.) Vuillemin, utilizado contra Dalaca pallens Blanchard (Lepidoptera: Hepialidae). PhD Thesis, Facultad de Ciencias Agrarias de la Universidad Austral de Chile. Devotto, L., Cisternas, E., Gerding, M. & Carrillo, R. 2007.Response of grassland soil arthropod community to biological and conventional control of a native moth: using Beauveria bassiana and lambda- cyhalothrin for Dalaca pallens (Lepidoptera: Hepialidae) suppression. BioControl 52, 507–531. Maldonado1, A., Merino, L., & France, A. 2012. Selection of Entomopathogenic nematodes against Dalaca pallens (Lepidoptera: Hepialidae). Chilean Journal of Agricultural Research 72, 201-205. Nielsen, E.S. & Robinson. 1983. Ghost moths of Southern South America. Entomonograph 4, 1-192.
Dalaca quadricornis Nielsen & Robinson, 1983 Argentina (western) and Chile Holotype: ZMUC Zoological Museum, University of Copenhagen Flight: December-February
Argentina, El Bolsen. American Museum of Natural History. Image: Jane Hyland
Dalaca laminata Nielsen & Robinson, 1983 Chile: Malleco - Cordillera de Nahuelbuta, Nubile - eastern part Flight: October-January
Paratype male. United States National Museum. Image courtesy of Don Harvey
Female United States National Museum. Image courtesy of Don Harvey
Dalaca chiliensis (Viette, 1950) Chile: Coastal Range, Central Valley Flight: March-May Holotype:MNHN, Muséum Nationale d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris (Viette, 1950 15e note)
Dalaca crocatus (Ureta, 1956) Chile: Va;divía and Aracucania Holotype:MNHC Museo Nacional de Histoire Naturales, Santigo Flight: February?
Dalaca nigricornis Walker, 1856 Holotype: Natural History Museum, London Fllight: November
Holotype. Natural History Museum, London
Dalaca pallens (Blanchard, 1852) Argentina, Chile Holotype: not found Flight: January-March
Natural History Museum, London
Dalaca parafuscus Nielsen, Robinson & Wagner, 2000 (replace D. fuscus) Argentina, Chile (Tierra del Fuego, Magallances) Holotype: not found Flight: January
Dalaca patriciae Nielsen & Robinson, 1983 Holotype: ZMUC Zoological Museum, University of Copenhagen Flight: November-December
Dalaca postvariabilis Nielsen & Robinson, 1983 Argentina: Neuquen - western part Holotype:ZMUC Zoological Museum, University of Copenhagen Flight: Spring-early summer, November-February
Dalaca variabilis (Viette, 1950) Holotype: MNHN, Muséum Nationale d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris (Viette, 1950 15e note) Flight: Argenitan, Chile Flight: September-December