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Diarsia esurialis

Diarsia esurialis
Bay Center, Pacific County, Washington, USA
June 14, 2005
Size: body ~18mm
One of the Noctuids I have in my photo collection of several hundred moths posted on Flickr. In Flickr have given a tentative cf. Xestia badinodis - Northern Variable Dart 10968. There does seem to be a taxonomic uncertainty in this group.

Also, I wrote your site last week and have offered images (both identified and not) if they would be helpful to your efforts. The sets are at:


Moved from Noctuini.

Moved to Noctuini
Moved from Xestia badinodis (whose page will be deleted because there's already an Agnorisma badinodis page here).

This is definitely not badinodis but I'm not completely sure that it's Parabagrotis insularis, so I've moved it to the tribe page for now. See other comments in previous messages below...

I've gone over this one with a fine toothed comb and I'm thinking this is Xestia normaniana, # 10943. The overall pattern, as well as the AM markings, the spots and dark markings in the median area, ST line and such, just seems closer to normaniana.

Also, the size has me leaning that way as well. Dick, you've noted in previous posts that the sides of those squares are 6.35mm. Using that scale, the approximate wingspan of this moth would be, conservatively, close to 40mm. This would be too large for Parabagrotis insularis.

X. normaniana's range extends into Oregon and it's on the aforementioned list. Anyone have any thoughts on this suggestion?

Possibly Diarsia esurialis?
J.D. Thanks for all the work. And yes .. Scale on the laboratory waterproof graph paper; ¼ in² or 6.35 mm per side. I was wondering if you compared this specimen (and others posted on the BG site) to Diarsia esurialis?

A couple of characters seem to stand out to me . for what it might be worth.

The more V like resting shape shape .. e.g. a line from snout (labial palpi) to fw terminus follows closely the costal margin in Diarsia esurialis than Xestia normaniana. The distinct triangular dark spots on the fw terminal margin. May be indistinct but still present on worn specimens. The general lack of dark spots on the postmedial (?) line in D. esurialis seem distinct in X. normaniana. In D. esurialis the pm line is nearly continuous as a series of small linear dots. A shaded band passing from anterior to posterior across the fw at or through the reniform spot seem fairly consistent in the specimens John and I have placed as D. esurialis. The specimens posted seem to bridge the color variation noted in Macromoths of NW ...

Note from: Macromoths of Northwest Forests and Woodlands / Diarsia esurialis [Noctuidae]

Wingspan 3.3 cm. Forewing is yellow, orange, or pink-lavender, often with the discal cell black between the discal spots. This noctuid is endemic but abundant in wet coastal forests in the Pacific West. Moths fly in midsummer. Caterpillars feed on the foliage of hazelnut (Corylus) and alders (Alnus).
We are surrounded by Alder and the filbert trees which had been planted around the property, come up wild all around the brushy margins. BTW we would certainly qualify for wet coastal here.

Thanks again.

Six specimens posted as D. esurialis, examples:

Good Catch!
I believe you're right. Don't know why I was hung up on Xestia. But several things in particular stand out (besides what you mentioned). There is a small basal line very close to the body that matches, and below the first spot there is the curved black mark. That was the mark I couldn't find and D. esurialis has it. But one big clue I didn't notice is that the faint line coming from the costa to the first black marking (basally) is zig-zag on your specimen (and esurialis) whereas in normanianus it is straight. And the size range is closer to your specimen as well. I believe you have it right, but let's see if Robin or anyone else agrees.

Thanks go out to both you and Robin. Let's see now if we have other interesting ones as I get deeper into the noctuids I have photographed. Did you see my Autographa corusca?

That looks good, yes.
Much better than my previous guess.

The MPG site appears to be down at the moment but there's a good photo of D. esurialis at CBIF.

Just keep posting them on ID request
I'll move them to their proper place as they're loaded, and create new guide pages where needed.

Xestia badicollis, Hodges # 10968, is the Northern Variable Dart.
Xestia badinodis is a synonym of Agnorisma badinodis, Hodges #10955, called the Pale-banded Dart, and we already have a Guide page for it here.

Neither of those species occur west of a line from Texas to Ontario. I think this photo might be Parabagrotis insularis, which occurs from California to BC. The amount of black on the forewing varies from none to the amount shown here, and the wing color varies from orangish to brownish-gray (see variability in 3 specimens at MPG). The species is listed as Rhynchagrotis insularis on this Oregon State page.


On a different note, I see that you've made a new genus page for this photo. However, Cheteoscelis is a synonym of Synchlora (see this page), and the moth pictured looks like Synchlora bistriaria, shown here. The species page needs to be moved to the Synchlora page, and the Cheteoscelis page deleted.

It seems that you've been jumping the gun in making guide pages lately, Will. I suggest reading Page Creation Tips; it discusses ways to avoid making common errors in creating guide pages.

Return Comment

I'm a bit taken back by your remarks. First, I submitted a total of four moths to BugGuide for help with identification. One was the Dart or whatever which I thought might be similar to a Xestia. I did not know of course and John Davis did not either when he referred me to BugGuide. Not being that familiar with the site I thought the ID had been confirmed. With your suggestion I can see I have another very good candidate. My thanks for that. The other three moths have not been IDed at this time.

Now, I only submitted the four moths for ID .. I did not set up a new genus page or whatever as far as I know. The photo you note as mine was submitted by John & Barbara Moerk according to the photo legend. I'm not one to jump the gun knowing full well the rules of taxonomy. I'm just trying to learn the moths to add to my enjoyment of natural living things. I would like to document as to geographic locality those species around this area. I have named and worked with species in the vertebrates and have a great respect for proper ID. With the moths I have identified on my Flickr site I have had help in questionable cases by people such as John Davis and I thank him very much. Perhaps you might help on the identification of the other couple hundred moths listed as unassigned in my photo collection.

So thanks for the heads up on the possible species tag for the Noctuid.


not you
I didn't reply to your post, Dick. I replied to Will's comment, and was addressing Will, as in "...jumping the gun in making guide pages lately, Will"

Sorry for the misunderstanding.

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