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Species Acronicta funeralis - Funerary Dagger - Hodges#9221

bird-dropping caterpillar - Acronicta funeralis Bird dropping - Acronicta funeralis black and yellow  caterpillar - Acronicta funeralis Cool Caterpillar - Acronicta funeralis Funerary Dagger, 9221 - Acronicta funeralis Non-flower vegetation 2 - Acronicta funeralis moth071717a - Acronicta funeralis Caterpillar - Acronicta funeralis
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 funeralis (Funerary Dagger - Hodges#9221)
Hodges Number
9221
Other Common Names
Paddle Caterpillar (larva)
Explanation of Names
FUNERALIS/FUNERARY: probably refers to the traditional black color related to funerals, as much of the larva and part of the adult is black
Numbers
uncommon
Size
wingspan 32-40 mm
Identification
Adult: forewing longitudinally bicolored (light gray on costal two-thirds, black along inner third, with sharp dividing line); broad basal dash has large tooth pointing toward costa; in melanic indidivuals, the light gray is replaced by very dark gray
hindwing white on basal half, shading to gray on distal half, with dark gray veins

Larva: early instars brown with white markings; fourth instar black with middorsal light yellow markings that are triangular to elliptical with transverse black streaks in the center, and a pair of long black hairs with flattened tips that resemble paddles - hence the common name of Paddle Caterpillar
Range
patchy distribution: Manitoba to Nova Scotia, south to Maryland, plus Georgia, Mississippi, Texas, and along the west coast from California to BC (apparently missing from much of the midwest and several southern states)
Season
adults fly from May to August
larvae in July and August
Food
larvae feed on leaves of alder, apple, birch, blueberry/huckleberry (Vaccinium spp.), cottonwood, dogwood, elm, hazel, hickory, maple, oak, willow
Life Cycle
two or more generations per year in the south; one or two in the north
See Also
Adults of A. impressa (and A. mansueta in the west) have a bicolored gray/black forewing but the colors are not sharply-demarcated (compare images of all 3 species)
Internet References
adult image plus common name reference [Funerary Dagger] and food plants (Larry Line, Maryland)
pinned adult image (A.W. Thomas, Canadian Forest Service)
pinned adult images of normal and melanic forms (James Adams, Dalton State College, Georgia)
pinned adult image and other info (California Dept. of Food and Agriculture)
live larva image plus description, food plants, and season (Jeffrey Miller, Caterpillars of Northwest Forests and Woodlands; USGS)
live larva image plus food plants and flight season (Pedro Barbosa, U. of Maryland)
live larva image (Richard Seaman, New Jersey)
food plants and flight season (Ohio State U.)
common name reference [Paddle Caterpillar; larva] (Entomological Society of Canada)
distribution in the east (Dalton State College, Georgia)
presence in Texas; list (James Gillaspy, U. of Texas)