Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
Clickable Guide
Moths Butterflies Flies Caterpillars Flies Dragonflies Flies Mantids Cockroaches Bees and Wasps Walkingsticks Earwigs Ants Termites Hoppers and Kin Hoppers and Kin Beetles True Bugs Fleas Grasshoppers and Kin Ticks Spiders Scorpions Centipedes Millipedes

Calendar
Upcoming Events

National Moth Week photos of insects and people. Here's how to add your images.

Photos of insects and people from the 2019 BugGuide Gathering in Louisiana, July 25-27

Discussion, insects and people from the 2018 gathering in Virginia, July 27-29

Photos of insects and people from the 2015 gathering in Wisconsin, July 10-12

Photos of insects and people from the 2014 gathering in Virginia, June 4-7.

Photos of insects and people from the 2013 gathering in Arizona, July 25-28

Photos of insects and people from the 2012 gathering in Alabama

Photos of insects and people from the 2011 gathering in Iowa


TaxonomyBrowse
Info
ImagesLinksBooksData

Species Acronicta insita - Large Gray Dagger - Hodges#9202

Fingered Dagger Moth - Acronicta insita 2225 Acronicta dactylina - Fingered Dagger or Alder Dagger 9203 - Acronicta insita Noctuidae: Acronicta dactylina - Acronicta insita 9203, Acronicta dactylina, Fingered Dagger - Acronicta insita Fingered Dagger - Hodges#9203 - Acronicta insita Acronicta dactylina - Fingered Dagger - Hodges#9203 - Acronicta insita Fingered Dagger - Hodges#9203 - Acronicta insita Noctuidae, Large Gray Dagger - Acronicta insita
Show images of: caterpillars · adults · both
Classification
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 insita (Large Gray Dagger - Hodges#9202)
Hodges Number
9202
Other Common Names
Alder Dagger
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Acronicta insita (Walker, 1856)
Acronicta dactylina (Grote, 1874)
Acronicta hesperida (Smith, 1897)
Numbers
uncommon, but widely distributed
Size
wingspan 45-55 mm
Identification
Adult: Powdery gray FW with darker markings and whitish HW. FW with the normal markings somewhat broken and blurred, the outer part of the PM and a partial reniform spot most prominent. The orbicular spot is a small, hollow ring. There is no basal dash. The anal "dagger mark" is blurred but obvious. The male hindwings are white with grey scales along the veins. The female is larger and is more heavily dusted with grey on the hindwings. Antennae in both sexes are simple.
Larva: body covered with stiff orange or brown hair dorsally, and pale yellowish or white hair laterally, with several much longer black hairs and white hairs concentrated near the front and back (may also have three dense dorsal tufts of long black hair on abdominal segments 1, 3, and 8)
Range
all of United States and southern Canada (Newfoundland to Florida, west through Texas to California, north to British Columbia)
Habitat
deciduous and mixedwood forest
Season
adults may be active from April to September but normally have a more restricted flight season (May to August, or just June and July, depending on location)
larvae present from July to October
Food
larvae feed on alder, birch, poplar, hawthorn, willow
Life Cycle
one generation per year; overwinters as a pupa in leaves or debris protected in tough oval cocoon of coarse silk and hair (1)
Life cycle images:
1.larva 2.adult
Remarks
Large, pale, poorly marked adults of western populations were previously considered a separate species (Acronicta hesperida).
See Also
American Dagger which is darker grey-brown on both wings and has a doubled, white-filled PM. (compare images of both species)
Cottonwood Dagger, which is smaller and has narrower wings with a basal dash on the FW.
Works Cited
1.Photo Field Guide to Some Caterpillars of Southern Ontario
Ian Carmichael and Ann Vance. 2004. St. Thomas Field Naturalist Club Incorporated.