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Species Athetis tarda - The Slowpoke - Hodges#9650

Thinker Moth? - Athetis tarda The Slowpoke - Athetis tarda The Slowpoke - Athetis tarda The Slowpoke - Athetis tarda The Slowpoke - Athetis tarda Chubby brown caterpillar 3 - Athetis tarda 2013-05-26-lep2 - Athetis tarda The slowpoke - Athetis tarda
Show images of: caterpillars · adults · both
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths)
Superfamily Noctuoidea (Owlet Moths and kin)
Family Noctuidae (Owlet Moths)
Subfamily Noctuinae (Cutworm or Dart Moths)
Tribe Caradrinini
Subtribe Athetiina
Genus Athetis
Species tarda (The Slowpoke - Hodges#9650)
Hodges Number
9650
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Athetis tarda (Guenée, 1852) (1)
Caradrina tarda Guenée, 1852
Anothordes tarda
Anorthodes prima Smith, 1891
Phylogenetic sequence # 932269
Explanation of Names
TARDA: from the Latin "tardus" (slow), and the origin of the common name The Slowpoke. Wagner et al. notes that the aptly-named caterpillar is lethargic and will feign death when disturbed. (2)
Numbers
The only species in the genus listed for America, north of Mexico. (1)
Size
Wingspan 23-35 mm. (3)
Larva to 3 cm. (2)
Identification
Adult - forewing dark grayish-brown; lines darker but usually inconspicuous; ST line wavy with pale tan to yellowish edging; spots inconspicuous, blackish; group of 4 pale dots around perimeter of reniform spot is diagnostic but not always present. (3)
Range
Heppner (2003) listed the range as New Hampshire to Florida, Missouri to Texas. (4) , (5), (6), (7)
Habitat
Very common in oak woodlands. (2)
Season
Adults fly from April to September. BugGuide records indicate two distinct flights throughout the entire range, late-March through May and late-August through September. (3)
Food
Larvae feed on dead oak leaves. (2), (3), (8)
Life Cycle
At rest on a dead leaf the larva presents a false head look with a swollen rearward segment and spots. When threatened the larva may raise rear abdominal segments and release anal prolegs to complete the deception. Lab reared caterpillars sometimes cannibalistic. (2)
See Also
Larva similar to Orthodes majuscula. (2)
Print References
Beadle, D. & S. Leckie 2012. Peterson Field Guide to Moths of Northeastern North America. Houghton Mifflin. 434-435 (preview) (8)
Covell Jr., C.V. 1984. A Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America. Houghton Mifflin Company. p.132. pl.27, f.5 (3)
Guenée, A. 1852. Histoire naturelle des insectes, spécies général des lépidoptères 5, Noctuelites 1: 243-244