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Species Abagrotis alternata - Greater Red Dart - Hodges#11029

Greater Red Dart - Abagrotis alternata caterpillar - May 28 - Abagrotis alternata caterpillar - May 24 - Abagrotis alternata Greater Red Dart - Abagrotis alternata Greater Red Dart - Abagrotis alternata Greater Red Dart - Abagrotis alternata Pennsylvania Moth - Abagrotis alternata 10/6/19 moth - Abagrotis alternata
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 Noctuinae (Cutworm or Dart Moths)
Tribe Noctuini
Subtribe Noctuina
Genus Abagrotis
Species alternata (Greater Red Dart - Hodges#11029)
Hodges Number
Other Common Names
Mottled Gray Cutworm (larva)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
described in 1864 by Grote, who originally placed it in genus Noctua
wingspan 38-43 mm
Adult: head light brown; forewing dark reddish-brown in males, lighter yellowish-brown in females, with contrasting pale tan terminal area in both sexes; orbicular and reniform spots darker than ground color and outlined with pale scales; orbicular spot oval and angled 45 degrees toward wing base; no obvious patch of black scales where subterminal line meets costa; hindwing dark brownish-gray with pale fringe
United States and southern Canada east of the Rockies: Newfoundland to Florida, west to Arizona, north to Alberta
open woodlands, shrubby areas, gardens, orchards, etc.; adults are nocturnal and come to light and sugar bait
adults fly from June to October
larvae feed on leaves of a variety of herbaceous and woody plants, including strawberry, tomato, potato, cabbage, apple, cherry, peach, plum, oak, hickory, walnut, spruce
Life Cycle
one generation per year; overwinters as a larva
Life cycle images:
larva; larva; larva - head; pupa; adult
See Also
Blueberry Budworm Moth (Abagrotis anchocelioides) has reddish-brown head, more circular orbicular spot, reniform and orbicular spots same color as ground color, and a patch of black scales where subterminal line meets costa (compare images of both species at CBIF)
also compare with several other species at CBIF, and see photos by Jim Vargo at MPG in Internet References link below
Variable Sallow (Sericagalea signata) forewing has dark dot in lower part of reniform spot, faint thin median line connecting reniform spots when moth is at rest with wings closed, and adults fly from October to May
Internet References
live adult images plus common name reference [Greater Red Dart; adult], dates, and larval foodplants (Larry Line, Maryland)
pinned adult image plus photos of related species by Jim Vargo (Moth Photographers Group)
species account including pinned adult image by Michael Pogue, common name references for adult and larva, description, distribution, flight season, references (Discover Life in America,
pinned adult image plus habitat, description, similar species, biology, larval foodplants, distribution (G.G. Anweiler, Strickland Entomological Museum, U. of Alberta)
11 pinned adult images and collection site map (All-Leps)
pinned adult image plus common name reference [Mottled Gray Cutworm; larva], description, similar species, distribution, larval foodplants (Gerald Fauske, North Dakota State U.)
pinned adult images (Harvard U., Massachusetts)
distribution in Canada list of provinces (U. of Alberta, using CBIF data)
presence in Florida; list (John Heppner, Florida State Collection of Arthropods)
presence in Texas; list (Dale Clark, Texas)
presence in Utah; list (Joel Johnson, Utah Lepidopterists Society)