Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Raphia frater Grote, 1864
Schmidt & Anweiler (2014) transferred the following from species to subspecies:
Raphia frater frater (Grote, 1864)
Raphia frater abrupta (Grote, 1864)
Raphia frater coloradensis (Putnam-Cramer, 1886)
Raphia frater piazzi (Hill, 1927)
Raphia frater cinderella (Smith, 1903)
Raphia frater elbea (Smith, 1908)
Raphia pallula (H. Edwards, 1886)
Raphia flexuosa (Walker, 1865)
Raphia personata (Walker, 1865)
Explanation of Names
FRATER: from the Latin "frater, fraternus" (a brother, brotherly) - the origin of the common name but what connection this moth has with brothers is not clear
Adult - forewing bluish-gray with darker gray shading; black antemedial line descends fairly straight from costa, then curves inward before swooping sharply outward toward the medial line (which it sometimes touches) just above the inner margin; black smudgy medial line is strongest close to costa and lower half of wing; postmedial line is black, edged with pale gray on outer side; its shape is useful for identification of this moth, as it bends outward to make a distinctive angular (as opposed to curved) shape outside the reniform spot; subterminal line jagged and pale gray, shaded with dark gray between it and the PM line; orbicular and reniform spots usually distinct, outlined in black and filled with gray; reniform spot usually black in center [adapted from description by Lynn Scott]
Larva - Blue-green to bright lime green with yellow spotting and transverse yellow lines running over A1, A5, and A8. Yellow lines edged with red or white anteriorly. T2 with rose to red dorsal conical projections, yellowish at their bases and rose-pink apically. Larva to 3 cm
coast to coast in southern Canada and northern United States
Edges of watercourses, late successional fields, woodlands, and forests
adults fly from April or May to August
larvae feed mainly on aspen; other food plants include alder, birch, cottonwood, willow
At least two generations with mature caterpillars from late June to October. The eggs are laid in a small group, often in a linear, partially overlapping array. The early instars are narrowly elongate, their appearance contrasting markedly with that of the stubby later instars. The first two pairs of prolegs are rudimentary even in the second instar—the larva predictably loops. The caterpillars rest on leaf undersides by day and are easily found by turning branches or examining leaves from below. Winters are passed as pupa.
Edwards H (1886) Apparently new forms of American Lepidoptera. Entomologica Americana 2: 165–171.
Grote AR (1864) Descriptions of North American Lepidoptera – no. 2. Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Philadelphia 2: 435
Hill CA (1927) Three new moths from the southwest. Bulletin of the Southern California Academy of Sciences 26: 6–7.
Lafontaine JD, Schmidt BC (2015) Additions and corrections to the check list of the Noctuoidea (Insecta, Lepidoptera) of North America north of Mexico III. ZooKeys 527: 127-147(1)
Putnam-Cramer AW (1886) Two new varieties of noctuids. Entomologica Americana 2: 1–142.
Schmidt C, Anweiler G (2014) Taxonomy and biogeography of the Nearctic Raphia Hübner (Lepidoptera, Noctuidae, Raphiinae). ZooKeys 421: 91-113
Smith JB (1903) New noctuids for 1903, no. 4, with notes on certain described species. Transactions of the American Entomological Society 29: 191–224.
Smith JB (1908) New species of Noctuidae for 1908. I. With notes Charadra, Raphia and Pseudanarta. Journal of the Entomological Society of New York 16: 79–98. (2)
Walker FD (1865) List of the Specimens of Lepidopterous Insects in the Collection of the British Museum 32. British Museum, London, 448 pp.
live adult images
plus description and other info (Lynn Scott, Ontario)
(Larry Line, Maryland)
common name reference
plus other info (Ohio State U.)
Owlet Caterpillars of Eastern North America
- larva description, habitat, and life cycle