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Species Acronicta superans - Splendid Dagger - Hodges#9226

Splendid Dagger Caterpillar - Acronicta superans Splendid Dagger - Acronicta superans Caterpillar - Acronicta superans Caterpillar - Acronicta superans Unidentified green caterpillar - Acronicta superans Unidentified green caterpillar - Acronicta superans early instar splendid dagger moth - Acronicta superans Red Adirondack caterpillar  - Acronicta superans
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 superans (Splendid Dagger - Hodges#9226)
Hodges Number
9226
Numbers
may be common northward
Size
wingspan 40-46 mm
Identification
Adult: forewing pale gray with dark mottling; diffuse black basal and anal dashes converge with black shading in median area; a third black dash halfway along outer margin; large white patch below reniform spot, and another above orbicular spot; small yellowish patch in lower basal area may be partially or completely hidden in moths at rest
hindwing grayish-brown with indistinct discal spot and slightly darker PM and terminal lines; antennae simple; sexes alike

Larva: bright green with brownish-black stripe down back, edged with yellow, and continued onto head; cheeks pale; strongly humped eighth abdominal segment; hairs above spiracles long, shiny, black, and sparse, those on dorsum thickened; subventral hairs shorter, pale, more numerous
Range
Newfoundland to North Carolina, west to Kentucky, north to Manitoba (plus disjunct population in Alberta)
Habitat
deciduous and mixedwood forests, shrub lands, urban plantations; adults are nocturnal and attracted to light
Season
adults fly from May to August
larvae from June to October
Food
larvae feed on leaves of apple, birch, cherry, hazel, hawthorn, maple, mountain-ash, pear, plum, serviceberry
Life Cycle
one or sometimes two generations per year; overwinters as a pupa
See Also
pattern of black and white patches unlikely to be confused with any other Acronicta species
Internet References
pinned adult image plus habitat, flight season, description, food plants, biology, distribution (Strickland Entomological Museum, U. of Alberta)
pinned adult image (A.W. Thomas, Canadian Forest Service)
pinned adult image (John Glaser, Maryland)
pinned adult image (James Adams, Dalton State College, Georgia)
live larva image plus description, seasonality, food plants, life cycle (David Wagner and Valerie Giles, Caterpillars of Eastern Forests; USGS)
food plants; PDF doc plus flight season and life cycle (Macrolepidoptera of Mont Saint-Hilaire Region, McGill U., Quebec)
presence in North Carolina 8 pinned specimens in collection, including locally collected specimens (North Carolina State U.)