Other Common Names
Spotted Cutworm (larva of both species)
X. c-nigrum is called Setaceous Hebrew Character
X. dolosa is called Great Black-lettered Dart
wingspan 35-47 mm for the two species combined
forewing rosy-brown in male, blackish in female; black bar from AM line to reniform spot near costa interrupted by yellowish orbicular spot that widens toward costa; some individuals have black shading between reniform and orbicular spots; black blotch angles inward from costa at top of ST line
hindwing dirty white with grayish-brown shading, darker in female than in male
[adapted from description by Charles Covell]
The two species that make up this complex cannot be distinguished by their color or pattern. In The Owlet Moths of Ohio, Roy Rings writes: "The maculation of X. c-nigrum is identical to X. dolosa. The best way to separate the two species is by size. X. c-nigrum averages 6 mm (fore wing apex to apex) smaller than X. dolosa."
Another way to separate the two in some cases is by geographical range (see below)
X. dolosa ranges from New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island to Florida, west to Texas, north to North Dakota and Manitoba.
(sometimes listed under the synonym X. adela
) ranges from Newfoundland and Nova Scotia to Florida
, west to California
, north to Northwest Territories, Yukon, and Alaska. It is listed as X. adela
in this South Carolina list
, and occurs in every central and midwestern Canadian province but apparently has not been recorded from most central and southeastern states.
See Canadian distribution of both species here
. The range of these two species overlaps in much of eastern North America.
X. c-nigrum also occurs throughout Eurasia, whereas X. dolosa is restricted to North America.
adults fly from May to October (two broods) in the south; July and August (one brood) in the north
larvae feed on leaves of apple, barley, clover, corn, maple, nettle, tobacco and other plants
two generations per year in the south; one in the north
United States distribution maps of X. dolosa
and X. c-nigrum
were previously available at the USGS Northern Prairie Wildlife Research site, but the information has not yet been transferred to the butterfliesandmoths.org site; their X. c-nigrum
and X. dolosa
US distribution maps are currently blank, as of 2 Dec 2006.
The former USGS map for X. dolosa
showed records from California and Oregon, but those were presumably erroneous records, as X. dolosa
does not appear on the current list from California
, and the 3 specimens in Oregon State's collection
were not collected in Oregon. In Canada, the distribution list here
indicates that X. dolosa
does not occur west of Manitoba.
Rings, Roy W. et al. 1992. The Owlet Moths of Ohio.
pinned adult and larva images
of X. c-nigrum
(P.E. Bellin and Bert Gustafsson, Swedish Museum of Natural History)
live adult images
of X. c-nigrum
and common name reference [Setaceous Hebrew Character] (Moths and Butterflies of Europe and North Africa)
live adult image
of X. c-nigrum
and other info (Ian Kimber, UK Moths)
worldwide distribution of X. c-nigrum; PDF doc
plus habitat and foodplants (J.D. Lafontaine and D.M. Wood, Butterflies and Moths of the Yukon)