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Species Xestia praevia - Praevia Dart - Hodges#10968.1

caterpillar - Xestia praevia Praevia Dart - Xestia praevia 10968.1 – Xestia praevia – Praevia Dart Moth - Xestia praevia Xestia praevia  - Xestia praevia Praevia Dart - Xestia praevia - male 10968.1 – Xestia praevia – Praevia Dart - Xestia praevia Praevia Dart - Xestia praevia 10968 Northern Variable Dart (Xestia badicollis) - Xestia praevia
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 Noctuini
Subtribe Noctuina
Genus Xestia
Species praevia (Praevia Dart - Hodges#10968.1)
Hodges Number
wingspan about 32 mm, based on photo by Jim Vargo at MPG
larva length to 27 mm
Adult: forewing medium brown with slightly paler double AM and PM lines, and slightly darker diffuse ST line; reniform, orbicular, and claviform spots slightly paler than ground color; conspicuous triangular black spot basal to orbicular spot; rectangular black spot between orbicular and reniform spots; three black markings along basal half of costa; black basal dash may be present, reduced, or absent; blackish shading often present where AM and PM lines meet inner margin; hindwing pale yellowish basally, shading to dark grayish-brown distally; fringe dull yellowish

Larva: two color morphs (green and brown); more common green morph has green head with black spots; body green with white middorsal and subdorsal stripes, and broad greenish-white spiracular stripe; less common brown morph has creamy brown head with black bars on top; body brown with broken grayish middorsal and subdorsal stripes, and broad brownish-white spiracular stripe
[adapted from description by Canadian Forest Service]
much of United States and southern Canada: New Brunswick to Georgia, west to California, north to British Columbia
pine forests and mixed forests containing pine (the larval foodplant)
adults fly from late June through August, but are most numerous in July. Occasional very worn stragglers may be found in early September.
larvae present from May to July
larvae feed on needles of pine (Pinus spp.)
Life Cycle
larvae appear in May; pupation occurs in July; adults emerge in July and August; overwinters as a partly-grown larva
a recently described species (by Don Lafontaine in 1998)

CBIF data gives a Canadian distribution of BC to Manitoba, plus Quebec and New Brunswick, but not Ontario. However, NatureServe Explorer (see link below) lists it in Ontario, and my hard copy of a Checklist of Moths of Algonquin Park, Ontario lists it as present but uncommon in the Park. [RM]
See Also
Xestia badicollis is most similar, but has extensive light grayish shading on forewing, thorax, and head; black marking basal to orbicular spot smaller, AM and PM lines usually paler and more distinct; paler individuals of praevia may be very difficult to distinguish from badicollis. The two are most easily separated by flight time. X. praevia flies from late June through early August, and is most numerous in July. By the time fresh X. badicollis begin flying in late July, most X. praevia are very worn, and when X. badicollis flight peaks in early September, X. praevia is essentially done flying for the year.
Print References
Lafontaine, J.D., 1998. Moths of America North of Mexico, Fascicle 27.3: p. 128. (1)
Works Cited
1.The Moths of America North of Mexico, Noctuiodea, Noctuinae, Noctuini (Part), Fascicle 27.3
J. Donald LaFontaine. 1998. The Wedge Entomological Research Foundation.