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Genus Apantesis

Harnessed Tiger Moth - Apantesis phalerata Apantesis sp. - Apantesis Apantesis spp - Apantesis Tiger moth - Apantesis Tiger Moth? - Apantesis Albemarle Tiger - Apantesis phalerata Harnessed Tiger Moth - Apantesis phalerata Carlotta's Tiger Moth - Apantesis carlotta? - Apantesis
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 Erebidae
Subfamily Arctiinae (Tiger and Lichen Moths)
Tribe Arctiini (Tiger Moths)
Subtribe Arctiina
Genus Apantesis
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Apantesis Harris, 1841. Synonyms, etc.:
Apantesis Walker 1855
Sometimes subsumed under Grammia.
Explanation of Names
The author of the genus is Harris (1841, A report on the insects of Massachusetts injurious to vegetation), revised (?) by Walker (1855). The first author was presumably Thaddeus William Harris (1795-1856), see biographical note at Gray Herbarium, also here. Apantesis is Greek, and is usually translated as "meeting" or "official greeting". Power and Sedgwick, The New Sydenham Society's Lexicon of Medicine and The Allied Sciences (1881), via Google books, gives the meaning of apantesis (απαντησισ) as the act of going to meet, opposition, antagonism, an event or consequence of disease.
Another possibility for the origin of the name is Greek apanthesis (απανθησισ), meaning the time of plucking flowers, time of floral fading (Power and Sedgwick, 1881). There is a fossil genus of butterflies with this name, Apanthesis Scudder 1889.
Numbers (1) lists four species for North America.
Wingspan 3-4 cm
Medium-sized tiger moths with very dark forewings. Identification of species is difficult, and the taxonomy may still be rather confused. See photo, print references.
Eastern and Central North America
Varied, near fields, lawns.
Summer into early fall
Adults probably do not feed.
Life Cycle
Larvae feed on herbs, such as dandelion. Life history refers to three eastern species described by Covell (2)

There is no 100% consistent diagnostic characteristic in wing maculation or spots/no spots on the patagia (the "collar"), to reliably distinguish nais/carlotta/phalerata/vittata. The only full-proof method is dissection and examination of genitalia (the exception is in male phalerata, in which the valve is easily distinguished by its longer, up-curved apex. So one could brush the scales away from the last sternite and see it without dissection. The nais/carlotta/vittata group have rather blunt and rounded apices of the valve.)

However, within this group, using the sum of typical (although not necessarily diagnostic) characteristics, can allow for a reasonably probable species ID.
-- J.D. Roberts
See Also
Larger Tiger Moths, such as Grammia
Print References
Covell, pp. 69-70, plate 15 (2)
Internet References
Maryland Moths--A phalerata
Maryland Moths--A. nais
Clemson Univ.--A. phalerata
North Carolina State University Entomology lists several species for the state--this could represent older or newer taxonomy than in
Works Cited
1.Nearctica: Nomina Insecta Nearctica
2.Peterson Field Guides: Eastern Moths
Charles V. Covell. 1984. Houghton Mifflin Company.