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Species Sympistis saundersiana - Saunders' Sympistis - Hodges#10099

silver-and-black noctuid - Sympistis saundersiana Moth - Sympistis saundersiana Moth - Sympistis saundersiana
Show images of: caterpillars · adults · both
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 Oncocnemidinae
Genus Sympistis
Species saundersiana (Saunders' Sympistis - Hodges#10099)
Hodges Number
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Oncocnemis saundersiana
wingspan about 26 mm, based on photo by Jim Vargo at MPG
larvae less than 35 mm
Adult: forewing median area dark brownish-gray with pale gray or silvery shading inside AM line and in subterminal area; AM and PM lines thin, black, double; diffuse black band runs across median area; reniform, orbicular, and claviform spots rimmed with black; terminal area dark gray with several black dashes; hindwing grayish-brown basally with broad dark terminal band and slightly paler fringe; top of head and thorax blackish

Larva: green to pink and perhaps other colors, matching hostplant. Smooth, elongate, broadest though middle of body (A1-A6); pale middorsal and subdorsal stripes doubled with ground color darkened between. Two supraspiracular stripes, the uppermost broken, poorly developed, or absent. Prominent white spiracular stripe; upper edge ill-defined, passing through spiracles; lower edge sharply defined. Area between supraspiracular and spiracular stripe sometimes filled with white. Setae short, only 2x height of spiracle, inconspicuous. Spiracles tan with black rim. Third stemma (that closest to the antennal base) enlarged. Prepupal larvae turn pale green prior to pupation.
[larva description by David Wagner et al, taken from this U. of Connecticut page]
apparently widespread but with seemingly patchy distribution: Internet records from Alberta, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Ontario, Manitoba, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, Wisconsin
roadsides, rocky outcrops, sandy beaches, and other open habitats; adults are nocturnal and come to light
adults fly in August and September
larvae in early summer
larvae feed on Hairy Beardtongue (Penstemon hirsutus) and other beardtongue species
Life Cycle
overwinters as an egg; larva feeds in early summer, then tunnels underground to pupate, and stays in its cell unitl late summer when adult emerges; one generation per year
Apparently an uncommon and/or local species. Status in Ontario is "S3?". Its name appears in a PDF doc listing "Species in Greatest Need of Conservation" in Illinois.
"Saunders' Oncocnemis has not been seen in Connecticut for more than 50 years" - quote from article by David Wagner et al here
Internet References
species page (Moth Photographers Group)
pinned adult image by G.G. Anweiler, plus flight season and collection site map (Strickland Entomological Museum, U. of Alberta)
pinned adult images and collection site map (All-Leps)
description of larva plus common name reference, foodplants, habitat, distribution, seasonality, biology (David Wagner et al, U. of Connecticut)
status in Ontario - listed as "S3?" (NHIC; Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources)
presence in Michigan and Wisconsin plus locality, dates, foodplants (Lepidopterists Society Season Summary, U. of Florida)
distribution list of boundary states/provinces (Dalton State College, Georgia)
presence in South Carolina; county distribution map (John Snyder, Furman U., South Carolina)
presence in New York; list (Timothy McCabe, Olive Natural Heritage Society)
presence in Ohio; list (Ohio State U.)
presence in Florida; list (John Heppner, Florida State Collection of Arthropods)
distribution in Canada list of provinces (U. of Alberta, using CBIF data)