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Photo#1593931
Noctuid moth - Sympistis shirleyae

Noctuid moth - Sympistis shirleyae
Mount Laguna, San Diego County, California, USA
September 19, 2018
Size: In range 20-25mm length.
Need some help with this nice looking moth. Came to metal halide lamped sheet, oak-pine light forest, 6000 feet elevation.

Images of this individual: tag all
Noctuid moth - Sympistis shirleyae Noctuid moth - Sympistis shirleyae

Moved
Moved from Owlet Moths.

BOLD does not have any example images, at this time.
However, according to the PNW Moths website: "This species is easily identified by the dark gray forewing with wide rust-filled reniform spot, dentate subterminal line, and the patch of rusty scales on the thorax. The color and pattern are unique in Sympistis. "
We can clearly see the "patch of rusty scales on the thorax", in the other image! That feature is hidden in the view above. Check the links on the info page and look at the full-screen version at PNW Moths.

 
Rust spot
I don't see rust scales in the linked image. I think I see that the thorax has an orangish brown bare spot which is denuded of scale. As an editor, you should be able to click the image and view it at full resolution. I don't disagree with the ID. I have no opinion on that.

 
Yes
That is correct, exactly. Now we know that this spot may actually be missing from an image of this species. I was mistaken, at first.
Once I saw this one: it became clear that this feature is something to look for, but it may not be clearly visible on every moth.
I wonder if it might be gender related.? The males have filiform antennae. So, we might need to see some mating images (or voucher specimens) to find out.

 
BOLD
There is one specimen at BOLD and, as you point out, no image. It's sample CNCLEP108452 collected by Jim Troughbridge and identified by Don Lafontaine. It's int he same BIN with sagittata. Maybe the two species have not fully diverged.

 
PNW Moths looks like it
Thanks, Bob! Looking carefully, yes, the rust-filled reniform spot, as well as faintly rust-filled smaller proximal spots can be seen on my image and compare very well to the PNW Moths image. Also, as you point out dentate subterminal line. Other pieces look same too. Very nice, thanks again! I will keep the moth next time I see one.

Moved
Moved from ID Request.

Sympistis sp.
This looks like something very close to #10142.1 - Sympistis shirleyae, but I'm not sure.
We don't have a page for them yet, but have a look at the specimens on the MPG page. Let's wait for another opinion.

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