Other Common Names
The White-speck (Haworth, 1809)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Noctua unipuncta Haworth, 1809
Leucania extranea Guenée, 1852
Leucania antica Walker, 1856
Pseudaletia unipuncta quechua Franclemont, 1951 [
Leucania unipuncta tseki
Phylogenetic sequence # 932935
Explanation of Names
the common name comes from the caterpillars, which eat until there is nothing left, then "march" to a new food source.
the scientific name is Latin for "one-pointed", referring to the white speck on the upper surface of each forewing, and is also the reason for Haworth's common name "The White-speck
", which is no longer commonly used
species are found in America north of Mexico.(1)
Adult: forewing tan, often tinged with orange and lightly speckled with black; white along veins; PM line a series of small widely-spaced black dots; discal spot white; black-shaded line slants inward from apex; hindwing grayish-brown with tan fringe.
[adapted from description by Charles Covell]
Larva: head pale brown with green tinge and mottled with dark brown; body smooth, almost hairless, variably yellowish-green to brown to dark gray, with several dark stripes interspersed with pale lines along top and sides.
[adapted from description by Vermont Dept. of Agriculture]
Throughout North America except the arctic (Alaska, Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut)
also occurs in many other areas of the world.
Fields, gardens, meadows, waste places; adults are nocturnal and come to light.
Adults fly year round in the south and from March to November in northern areas.
Larvae are generalist feeders on many species of plants: alfalfa, corn and other grains, grasses, vegetables, many weeds and other wild plants, leaves of fruit trees and ornamentals.
Two or three generations per year; overwinters as either a pupa or partially-grown larva which pupates in the spring.
Life cycle images:
larva; older larva; older larva; spent pupa in woven nest; adult
The two North American species formerly placed in Pseudaletia
were included in Mythimna
by Lafontaine and Troubridge in 2003 (see CBIF article
Boisduval & Guenée, Hist. nat. Ins., Spec. gén. Lépid. 5 (Noct. 1) : 77
Proc. Ent. Soc. Wash. 53 (2) : 67
, f. 13.
Koutsaftikis, 1974; Ann. Musei Goulandris, 2: 96.
Powell, J.A. & P.A. Opler 2009. Moths of Western North America
. University of California Press. plate 56, fig. 1; p. 304.(2)
live adult images
plus description, flight season, foodplants (Lynn Scott, Ontario)
dorsal and ventral views of pinned adults
plus foodplants and other info (Dale Clark, Texas)
Taxonomic Notes on North American Noctuidae
describing recent classification changes (Donald Lafontaine and James Troubridge, CBIF)
distribution in Canada
listing all ten provinces (U. of Alberta, using CBIF data)
Lepidoptera Brittanica, p.174
Haworth's original description of the species