Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Acronicta insita (Walker, 1856)
Acronicta dactylina (Grote, 1874)
Acronicta hesperida (Smith, 1897)
uncommon, but widely distributed
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)
all of United States and southern Canada (Newfoundland to Florida, west through Texas to California, north to British Columbia)
deciduous and mixedwood forest
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
larvae feed on alder, birch, poplar, hawthorn, willow
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:
Large, pale, poorly marked adults of western populations were previously considered a separate species (Acronicta hesperida).
which is darker grey-brown on both wings and has a doubled, white-filled PM. (compare images of both species
, which is smaller and has narrower wings with a basal dash on the FW.