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Species Apantesis phalerata - Harnessed Tiger Moth - Hodges#8169

Banded Tiger Moth - Apantesis phalerata - male Harnessed Tiger Moth? - Apantesis phalerata Apantesis? - Apantesis phalerata - male Harnessed Tiger Moth - Apantesis phalerata Moth ID - Apantesis phalerata Arctiidae, Grammia... ?  - Apantesis phalerata Tiger Moth - Apantesis phalerata Harnessed Tiger Moth  - Apantesis phalerata
Show images of: caterpillars · adults · both
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths)
No Taxon (Moths)
Superfamily Noctuoidea
Family Erebidae
Subfamily Arctiinae (Tiger and Lichen Moths)
Tribe Arctiini (Tiger Moths)
Subtribe Arctiina
Genus Apantesis
Species phalerata (Harnessed Tiger Moth - Hodges#8169)
Hodges Number
8169
Numbers
common in much of range
Size
wingspan 30-42 mm
Identification
forewing mostly black with cream-colored costal border and lines extending from base in male (less cream in female); pale costal border may or may not touch front edge of wing; collar with one black spot on each side
hindwing variable but often with pinkish wash along inner margin, and large black spots and patch in subterminal area (though less extensively black than in A. nais)
Range
Ontario, Quebec, and Maine to Florida, west to Texas, north to South Dakota
Season
adults fly from April to September in the south; May to August in the north
Food
larvae feed on clover, cord grass (Spartina spp.), corn, dandelion, plantain
Life Cycle
one generation per year in the north; two in the south?
Remarks
There are no 100% consistent diagnostic characteristics in wing maculation or spots/no spots on the patagia (the "collar"), to reliably distinguish nais/carlotta/phalerata/vittata. The only full-proof method is dissection and examination of genitalia (the exception is in male phalerata, in which the valve is easily distinguished by its longer, up-curved apex. So one could brush the scales away from the last sternite and see it without dissection. The nais/carlotta/vittata group have rather blunt and rounded apices of the valve.)
However, within this group, using the sum of typical (although not necessarily diagnostic) characteristics, can allow for a reasonably probable species ID.
-- J.D. Roberts
See Also
Nais Tiger Moth (A. nais) has no black spots on collar, and more black in subterminal area of hindwing. Compare images of both species.
Internet References
pictorial key to three Apantesis species (Gerald Fauske, Moths of North Dakota)
live adult image [by Amy Lavy, Ohio] (Moth Photographers Group)
pinned adult image (Barbara Strnadova, New York, godofinsects.com)
pinned adult image (Oakland Museum of California)
US distribution map (Moths of North America; USGS)
common name reference plus food plants and flight season (Ohio State U.)
larval food plants; PDF doc plus flight season (Macrolepidoptera of the Mont Saint-Hilaire Region, McGill U., Montreal)