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Species Acronicta lepusculina - Cottonwood Dagger Moth - Hodges#9205

Noctuidae - Acronicta lepusculina Cottonwood Dagger? - Acronicta lepusculina Cottonwood Dagger - Acronicta lepusculina - female Dagger Moth Caterpillar - Acronicta lepusculina IMG_1378 - Acronicta lepusculina caterpillar on aspen - Acronicta lepusculina Noctuidae: Acronicta lepusculina - Acronicta lepusculina 9205 Cottonwood Dagger (Acronicta lepusculina) - Acronicta lepusculina
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 lepusculina (Cottonwood Dagger Moth - Hodges#9205)
Hodges Number
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
First described in 1852 by Achille Guénée as Acronycta lepusculina
Acronicta lepusculina
Explanation of Names
From Latin lepusculus- "little hare". The original description compares it to Acronicta leporina, whose name is itself derived from lepus- "hare"
uncommon but very widely distributed
wingspan 40-50 mm
forewing whitish; lines faint except for 3 black blotches representing tips of lines at costa; black basal dash present; usually no orbicular spot
hindwing white
"Although vulpina is usually paler, lepusculina is very variable and Midwestern ones can be nearly white. Vulpina has the PM line more offset towards the wing base and usually has an orbicular spot that is mostly absent in lepusculina...FW shape is more acute in lepusculina." Second comment: "The dark patch in the postmedial area near the anal margin is more offset towards the wing base in vulpina compared to lepusculina, where the whole PM line is more even." - Chris Schmidt

British Columbia to Nova Scotia, south to Florida, west to California (i.e. all of US and coast-to-coast in southern Canada)
forested riverbanks; treed floodplains
adults fly from April to September in the south (2 broods), and May to August in the north (1 brood)
larvae feed on leaves of Populus species (Trembling Aspen, Balsam Poplar, Cottonwood), plus birch and willow
Life Cycle
one generation per year in the north, two in the south; overwinters as a pupa
larva; adult
Internet References
Moths of North Dakota - adult image, description, distribution, similar species and host plants
common name reference plus food plants and flight season (Ohio State U.)