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Species Athetis tarda - The Slowpoke - Hodges#9650

Cat ID - Athetis tarda The Slowpoke - Hodges#9650 - Athetis tarda Moth - Athetis tarda The Slowpoke - Athetis tarda 9650  - Athetis tarda Unidentified Moth - Athetis tarda Moth - Athetis tarda Unknown moth  - Athetis tarda
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 Noctuidae (Owlet Moths)
Subfamily Noctuinae (Cutworm or Dart Moths)
Tribe Caradrinini
Subtribe Athetiina
Genus Athetis
Species tarda (The Slowpoke - Hodges#9650)
Hodges Number
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Athetis tarda (Guenée, 1852) (1)
Caradrina tarda Guenée, 1852
Anothordes tarda
Anorthodes prima Smith, 1891
Phylogenetic sequence # 932269
Explanation of Names
TARDA: from the Latin "tardus" (slow), and the origin of the common name The Slowpoke. Wagner et al. notes that the aptly-named caterpillar is lethargic and will feign death when disturbed. (2)
The only species in the genus listed for America, north of Mexico. (1)
Wingspan 23-35 mm. (3)
Larva to 3 cm. (2)
Adult - forewing dark grayish-brown; lines darker but usually inconspicuous; ST line wavy with pale tan to yellowish edging; spots inconspicuous, blackish; group of 4 pale dots around perimeter of reniform spot is diagnostic but not always present. (3)
Heppner (2003) listed the range as New Hampshire to Florida, Missouri to Texas. (4) , (5), (6), (7)
Very common in oak woodlands. (2)
Adults fly from April to September. BugGuide records indicate two distinct flights throughout the entire range, late-March through May and late-August through September. (3)
Larvae feed on dead oak leaves. (2), (3), (8)
Life Cycle
At rest on a dead leaf the larva presents a false head look with a swollen rearward segment and spots. When threatened the larva may raise rear abdominal segments and release anal prolegs to complete the deception. Lab reared caterpillars sometimes cannibalistic. (2)
See Also
Larva similar to Orthodes majuscula. (2)
Print References
Beadle, D. & S. Leckie 2012. Peterson Field Guide to Moths of Northeastern North America. Houghton Mifflin. 434-435 (preview) (8)
Covell Jr., C.V. 1984. A Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America. Houghton Mifflin Company. p.132. pl.27, f.5 (3)
Guenée, A. 1852. Histoire naturelle des insectes, spécies général des lépidoptères 5, Noctuelites 1: 243-244