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Species Apantesis carlotta-nais-phalerata-vittata - carlotta-nais-phalerata-vittata

Tiger Moth sp. - Apantesis carlotta-nais-phalerata-vittata Harnessed Tiger Moth - Apantesis phalerata? - Apantesis carlotta-nais-phalerata-vittata - female Mystery Moth - Apantesis carlotta-nais-phalerata-vittata Apantesis phalerata (?) - Apantesis carlotta-nais-phalerata-vittata Arctiidae - Apantesis carlotta-nais-phalerata-vittata Apantesis sp - Apantesis carlotta-nais-phalerata-vittata Apantesis phalerata - Harnessed Tiger Moth - Apantesis carlotta-nais-phalerata-vittata Apantesis nais or phalerata - Apantesis carlotta-nais-phalerata-vittata
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 Erebidae
Subfamily Arctiinae (Tiger and Lichen Moths)
Tribe Arctiini (Tiger Moths)
Subtribe Arctiina
Genus Apantesis
Species carlotta-nais-phalerata-vittata
This group of four species is difficult to separate. Genitalia of the males are quite distinct in most cases, but when identifying them from photos, a combination of characteristics should be used. The following summarizes the markings of the males of these species (females are a bit more challenging to ID):

A. nais:
-USUALLY lacks black spots on the collar
-Hindwings can be yellow or pink/red
-Yellow reaches the costa on the forewings
-Hindwings have solid black band or separate black spots
-Widespread in the East except the extreme Southeast and Atlantic coastal plain

A. phalerata:
-USUALLY has black spots on the collar
-Hindwings are pale pink toward the base, fading to yellow toward the distal end; faded specimens may appear all yellow
-Yellow may or may not reach the costa of the forewings
-Hindwings USUALLY have separate black spots
-Widespread throughout the East and often the commonest of the four species

A. carlotta:
-USUALLY lacks black spots on the collar, like nais
-Hindwings are USUALLY yellow/orange, rarely with hints of salmon pink near the base (this is more common in eastern populations)
-Yellow NEVER reaches the costa of the forewings
-Hindwings USUALLY have separate black spots
-Common in midwestern prairies, along the coastal plain, and in inland barrens habitats throughout the Northeast

A. vittata:
-USUALLY has black spots on the collar
-Hindwings are USUALLY pink/red (As I'm writing this, I'm unaware of any yellow-HW specimens, but I've never heard an expert claim that such a form doesn't exist)
-Yellow reaches the costa of the forewings
-Hindwings have solid black band or separate black spots, like nais
-Only found in the Southeast, from Texas to the Carolinas. Reports north of this are misidentifications.

Combinations of these characters can be used to arrive at reasonably likely IDs, as long as the hindwings are showing in the photos. For example, a specimen from Pennsylvania with collar spots, a hindwing with a pink base and yellow outer portions, and separate hindwing spots can safely be called phalerata, and a specimen from a prairie in Nebraska with no collar spots, black along the FW costa, and a yellow/orange hindwing can safely be called carlotta. If the hindwings are not showing, accurate ID is usually impossible, and in some cases, a specimen may show an odd combination of characters that makes ID impossible without dissection (A specimen from Tennessee with pinkish hindwings, black collar spots, yellow along the FW costa, and a broken black band on the HW could potentially be phalerata or nais, for example, so it belongs on this page.) When in doubt, collect and dissect, and the IDs will come much more easily.
This page is for unidentifiable photos of Apantesis carlotta/phalerata/nais/vittata. These used to be the only species in the genus "Apantesis", and they present numerous ID challenges, but now that the former Grammia species are included in Apantesis, this page has been created to keep all the mystery carlotta/phalerata/nais/vittata photos in one place rather than having them mixed in with the other "Apantesis".
Internet References