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Species Apantesis phalerata - Harnessed Tiger Moth - Hodges#8169

Harnessed Tiger Moth - Apantesis phalerata Harnessed Tiger Moth - Apantesis phalerata Apantesis - Apantesis phalerata - male Tiger Moth - Apantesis phalerata Apantesis phalerata Harnessed or Nais Tiger Moth? - Apantesis phalerata Apantesis phalerata/nais ? - Apantesis phalerata Apantesis phalerata
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 Erebidae
Subfamily Arctiinae (Tiger and Lichen Moths)
Tribe Arctiini (Tiger Moths)
Subtribe Arctiina
Genus Apantesis
Species phalerata (Harnessed Tiger Moth - Hodges#8169)
Hodges Number
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Apantesis phalerata (Harris, 1841)
Arctia phalerata Harris, 1841
wingspan 30-42 mm
forewing mostly black with cream-colored costal border and lines extending from base in male (less cream in female); pale costal border may or may not touch front edge of wing; collar with one black spot on each side
hindwing variable but often with pinkish wash along inner margin, and large black spots and patch in subterminal area (though less extensively black than in A. nais)
Males are easy to ID genitalia, since the valve tip can be brushed (de-scaled) and viewed without dissection – it is the only species with an elongate, slightly upcurved valve apex.
Ontario, Quebec, and Maine to Florida, west to Texas, north to South Dakota; common in much of range
adults fly from April to September in the south; May to August in the north
larvae feed on clover, cord grass (Spartina spp.), corn, dandelion, plantain
Life Cycle
one generation per year in the north; two in the south?
There are no 100% consistent diagnostic characteristics in wing maculation or spots/no spots on the patagia (the "collar"), to reliably distinguish nais/carlotta/phalerata/vittata. The only full-proof method is dissection and examination of genitalia (the exception is in male phalerata, in which the valve is easily distinguished by its longer, up-curved apex. So one could brush the scales away from the last sternite and see it without dissection. The nais/carlotta/vittata group have rather blunt and rounded apices of the valve.)
However, within this group, using the sum of typical (although not necessarily diagnostic) characteristics, can allow for a reasonably probable species ID.
-- J.D. Roberts
See Also
Nais Tiger Moth (A. nais) has no black spots on collar, and more black in subterminal area of hindwing. Compare images of both species.
Print References
Harris, T.W., 1841. A report on the insects of Massachusetts, injurious to vegetation. p. 245
Internet References
pictorial key to three Apantesis species (Gerald Fauske, Moths of North Dakota)
live adult image [by Amy Lavy, Ohio] (Moth Photographers Group)
pinned adult image (Barbara Strnadova, New York,
pinned adult image (Oakland Museum of California)
US distribution map (Moths of North America; USGS)
common name reference plus food plants and flight season (Ohio State U.)
larval food plants; PDF doc plus flight season (Macrolepidoptera of the Mont Saint-Hilaire Region, McGill U., Montreal)