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Species Acronicta vulpina - Miller Dagger - Hodges#9206

Miller Dagger - Acronicta vulpina - female Unidentified Caterpillar - NE Oregon - Acronicta vulpina Miller Dagger - Acronicta vulpina 9206 – Acronicta vulpina – Miller Dagger Moth - Acronicta vulpina Acronicta vulpina Acronicta vulpina Acronicta vulpina Salt & Pepper Moth - Acronicta vulpina
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 Acronictinae
Genus Acronicta (Dagger Moths)
Species vulpina (Miller Dagger - Hodges#9206)
Hodges Number
Other Common Names
Vulpina Dagger
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
formerly considered a subspecies of the Old World Acronicta leporina (both species occur together in eastern Russia)
Explanation of Names
Acronicta leporina is called The Miller in Europe, and is presumably the origin of the common name Miller Dagger for A. vulpina
wingspan 40-47 mm
Adult: forewing chalky white, lightly dusted with gray scales; normal lines are reduced to a few black spots where they would meet the costa, and a series of small dots marking the terminal line; other markings include a short basal streak, a few dark scales at the orbicular spot, a small crescent for the reniform spot; several small spots or streaks on the upper half, and a larger black blotch and streak near the anal angle indicate the subterminal line
hindwing white with small discal spot and series of black spots along margin at veins; sexes similar but females with a few more dark scales, especially along veins of hindwing

Larva: covered with long soft pale yellow hair, pointing forward on one side and backward on the other, due to the habit of resting with the body doubled sideways; has several small hair pencils, white and black, which do not exceed the length of the yellow hair
[both descriptions adapted from text at U. of Alberta site]
Northwest Territories and British Columbia to Newfoundland, south to New York, west to Colorado
mature deciduous and mixedwood forests; urban plantations
adults fly from May to July (in Alberta)
larvae feed on leaves of Trembling Aspen (Populus tremuloides), White Birch (Betula papyrifera), Balsam Poplar (Populus balsamifera), willow (Salix spp.), and Speckled Alder (Alnus rugosa)
See Also
adult Cottonwood Dagger (A. lepusculina) is very similar but is pale gray rather than white, and has more complete wing markings
adult Unmarked Dagger (A. innotata) has a complete ST line, and lacks a basal streak
(compare images of all three species)
Internet References
pinned adult image by A.B. Nojack, plus common name reference [Vulpina Dagger], habitat, flight season, description, food plants, distribution, similar species (Strickland Entomological Museum, U. of Alberta)
distribution in eastern Canada list of provinces (CBIF)
distribution in western Canada list of provinces and territories (CBIF)