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Species Xylena cineritia - Gray Swordgrass - Hodges#9876

Gray Swordgrass - Xylena cineritia Gray Swordgrass Moth - Xylena cineritia Gray Swordgrass - Xylena cineritia Gray Swordgrass - Xylena cineritia Noctuidae: Xylena cineritia  - Xylena cineritia Noctuidae: Xylena cineritia  - Xylena cineritia Noctuidae: Xylena cineritia  - Xylena cineritia Gray Swordgrass moth - Xylena cineritia
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 Xylenini
Subtribe Xylenina
Genus Xylena (Swordgrass Moths)
Species cineritia (Gray Swordgrass - Hodges#9876)
Hodges Number
Explanation of Names
CINERITIA: from the Latin "cinereus" (ashy); probably refers to the ash-gray color of the lower half of the forewing
rare in Quebec and New York; known to cycle in and out of some areas
wingspan 40-51 mm
Adult: forewing lower half dark bluish-gray; upper half light gray basally; light pinkish-yellow streak beyond reniform spot; no basal dash; reniform spot strongly curved, pale-centered with dark outline; orbicular spot black, oval; small whitish apical patch
hindwing grayish-brown with thin dark terminal line
northern United States and southern Canada (Newfoundland to New Jeersy, west to California, north to British Columbia)
in the east: Pitch Pine-Scrub Oak barrens and heathlands on sandplains or rocky ridges and summits; shrublands
in the west: high-elevation conifer forests
adults fly from September to November, and again in April and May
larvae feed on leaves of alder, birch, blueberry, Buffaloberry (Shepherdia canadensis), elder (Sambucus spp.), maple, meadowsweet, oak, poplar, rose, willow
Life Cycle
two generations per year; overwinters as an adult
See Also
Xylena thoracica is most similar but forewing lower half lighter gray, and yellow subapical streak smaller and paler
X. curvimacula forewing upper half has broad yellow streak from base to outer margin, and black basal dash
X. nupera forewing upper half yellowish-brown, and lower half dark brown; also has black median streak and basal dash
in the west, X. brucei forewing uniformly light gray with no yellow streak
(compare images of all five species)
Internet References
pinned adult image plus description, habitat, food plants, flight season, similar species (Jeff Miller, Macromoths of Northwest Forests and Woodlands, USGS)
pinned adult image and technical description (California Dept. of Food and Agriculture)
habitat and food plants; PDF doc (David Wagner et al, U. of New Hampshire)
flight season and food plants plus life cycle and status (Macrolepidoptera of Mont Saint-Hilaire Region, McGill U., Quebec)
status in New York (Tim McCabe, New York State Museum, USGS)
presence in California; list (U. of California at Berkeley)
distribution in Canada list of provinces (U. of Alberta, using CBIF data)