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Species Acronicta insularis - Cattail Caterpillar Moth - Hodges#9280

Cattail Caterpillar Moth - Acronicta insularis unknown colourful caterpillar on sea lavendar - Acronicta insularis caterpillar - Acronicta insularis Noctuoidea - Acronicta insularis caterpillar - Acronicta insularis On Typha angustifolia - Acronicta insularis Cattail Caterpillar Moth eggs - Acronicta insularis Cattail Caterpillar Moth, molting - Acronicta insularis
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 Acronictinae
Genus Acronicta (Dagger Moths)
Species insularis (Cattail Caterpillar Moth - Hodges#9280)
Hodges Number
Other Common Names
Cattail Caterpillar (larva)
Henry's Marsh Moth (adult)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Acronicta insularis (Herrich-Schäffer, 1868)
Tapinostola insularis Herrich-Schäffer, 1868
Simyra insularis (Herrich-Schäffer, 1868)
Leucania henrici Grote, 1873 (1)
Leucania evanida Grote, 1873
Ommatostolidea julitae Benjamin, 1933
Phylogenetic sequence # 931493 (1)
Explanation of Names
Jadranka et al. (2015) transferred Simyra insularis (Herrich-Schäffer, 1868) to the genus Acronicta (2)
Lafontaine & Schmidt (2010) listed Simyra insularis as the only species of the genus in America north of Mexico. (1)
Two subspecies: S. i. insularis and S. i. julitae were once recognized.
wingspan 35-40 mm
Adult: forewing narrow and pointed; white with brown filling between veins; three dark brown streaks extend inward from outer margin, shortest streak near apex
[the above description by Charles Covell presumably refers to subspecies S. i. insularis]
adults with uniformly light brown forewings from the southeast (Georgia, Florida) may be subspecies S. i. julitae - verification needed at BugGuide


Larva: body white with broad black dorsal stripe and mottled black-and-white lateral stripe; bright orange knobs containing tufts of medium-length hair form a band around middle of each abdominal segment
coast to coast throughout United States and southern Canada
marsh edges, wooded riverbanks, generally any damp area where larval foodplants grow; adults are nocturnal and attracted to light
adults fly from April to September
larvae feed on cattail (Typha spp.), smartweed (Polygonum spp.), grasses, sedges, poplar, willow
MJ reared these on elm (mostly Siberian elm) - see
Life Cycle
Eggs; hatching larvae; 3rd instar larvae; larva; larva/leaf shelter/pupa; adult
May be parasitized by Aleiodes stigmator, leaving behind a mummy caterpillar with many large exit holes.
Print References
Powell, J.A. & P.A. Opler 2009. Moths of Western North America. University of California Press. plate 50, fig. 45; p. 283. (3)
Internet References
adult image and larval foodplants (Larry Line, Maryland)
pinned adult image of uniformly light brown individual [subspecies julitae?] (James Adams, Dalton State College, Georgia)
common name reference [Henry's Marsh Moth], plus larval foodplants and flight season (Ohio State U.)
distribution in Canada all provinces except Newfoundland and PEI (U. of Alberta, using CBIF data)
Works Cited
1.Annotated check list of the Noctuoidea (Insecta, Lepidoptera) of North America north of Mexico.
Donald J. Lafontaine, B. Christian Schmidt. 2010. ZooKeys 40: 1–239 .
2.Phylogenetic relationships of Acronictinae with discussion of the abdominal courtship brush in Noctuidae (Lepidoptera)
Jadranka Rota, Brigette V. Zacharczenko, Niklas Wahlberg, Reza Zahiri, B.C. Schmidt, and David L. Wagner. 2015. Systematic Entomology.
3.Moths of Western North America
Powell and Opler. 2009. UC Press.
4.North American Moth Photographers Group
5.BOLD: The Barcode of Life Data Systems