Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Abrostola urentis Guenée, 1852
Phylogenetic sequence # 931162
Explanation of Names
SPECTACLED NETTLE: the larva feeds on nettle, and the adult has two raised tufts of scales on its thorax that resemble spectacles when viewed from the front - see photo on right side of this page
; (a European species in the same genus is called the The Spectacle
for the same reason). The merged orbicular and claviform spots are also reminiscent of spectacles, which helps to reinforce the name.
Lafontaine & Schmidt (2010) listed four species of the genus Abrostola
in America north of Mexico. (1)
Forewing length 13-15 mm. (2)
Larva to about 25 mm. (3)
Adult - forewing dark gray in median area, light gray in basal and subterminal areas (some individuals are brown rather than gray); thin black AM and PM lines preceded and followed respectively by reddish-brown scales; large reniform and merged orbicular/claviform spots pale, outlined in black; ST line thick, black, jagged; terminal line thin, black, fairly straight; the joined orbicular and claviform spots resemble a pair of spectacles (a distinctive feature, although not the origin of the word "Spectacled" in the common name - see Explanation of Names above). Hindwing light gray on basal half with dark discal crescent; dark gray on outer half; fringe white with several dark spots.
Larva - body green with a series of white-bordered green chevrons dorsally, and a white lateral stripe. (3)
Coast to coast in southern Canada, Washington, Oregon, and Colorado in the west, in the east south to North Carolina. Isolated population in southeast Texas. (4)
Woodland clearings and edges where nettles grow; adults nocturnal and attracted to light (E.H. Strickland Museum).
The main flight period is April to October. (5)
One generation per year in the north; larvae pupate in cocoon attached to food plant, and emerge in a few weeks.
Crumb, S.E. 1956. The larvae of the Phalaenidae. U.S. Department of Agriculture Technical Bulletin
1135: 253. (3)
Eichlin, T.D. 1975. Guide to the adult and larval Plusiinae of California (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae). California Department of Agriculture Occasional Paper
21: 7. (6)
Eichlin, T.D. & H.B. Cunningham 1978. The Plusiinae (Lepidoptera:Noctuidae) of America north of Mexico, emphasizing genitalic and larval morphology. USDA Tech. Bulletin
1567: 9. (7)
Lafontaine, J.D. & R.W. Poole 1991. The Moths of America North of Mexico, Fascicle 25.1
. The Wedge Entomological Research Foundation. p. 36; plate 1, fig. 2. (4)
Pogue, M.G. 2005. The Plusiinae (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Zootaxa
1032: 5. (2)
Powell, J.A. & P.A. Opler 2009. Moths of Western North America
. University of California Press. plate 49, fig. 23; p. 277. (8)