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Species Xestia c-nigrum - Lesser Black-letter Dart - Hodges#10942

Xestia - Xestia c-nigrum Xestia c-nigrum/dolosa complex - Xestia c-nigrum Setaceous Hebrew Moth - Xestia c-nigrum Brownish Moth - Xestia c-nigrum Noctuidae: Xestia c-nigrum - Xestia c-nigrum Xestia c-nigrum Xestia c-nigrum Lépidoptère - Xestia c-nigrum - male
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 c-nigrum (Lesser Black-letter Dart - Hodges#10942)
Hodges Number
Other Common Names
Spotted Cutworm (larva)
Setaceous Hebrew Character (Europe)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Xestia c-nigrum – (Linnaeus, 1758)
* phylogenetic sequence #933588
forewing length 14-18 mm.(1)
larva length to 40 mm.
Adult: forewing rosy-brown in male, blackish in female; black bar from AM line to reniform spot near costa interrupted by yellowish orbicular spot that widens toward costa; some individuals have black shading between reniform and orbicular spots; black blotch angles inward from costa at top of ST line; hindwing dirty white with grayish-brown shading, darker in female than in male
[adapted from Charles Covell's description of X. dolosa, which, according to Roy Rings, cannot be distinguished from X. c-nigrum by color or pattern - see See Also section below]
Holarctic. In the Nearctic: Alaska to Newfoundland, south in the west to California and Mexico, south in the east to Virginia; also reported from South Carolina [as X. adela] but apparently absent from most southcentral and southeastern states
coniferous forests and clearings in the north; prairies, open woods, and cultivated fields in the south; adults are nocturnal and come to light and bait
adults fly from May to September
larvae feed on nettle (Urtica spp.), grasses and grains, garden vegetables, various other herbaceous plants, and sometimes leaves of fruit trees
Life Cycle
one generation per year in the far north; two in Quebec; two or more farther south
See Also
Greater Black-letter Dart (Xestia dolosa) is larger but otherwise similar. In The Owlet Moths of Ohio, Roy Rings writes: "The maculation of X. c-nigrum is identical to X. dolosa. The best way to separate the two species is by size. X. c-nigrum averages 6 mm (fore wing apex to apex) smaller than X. dolosa."
Another way to separate the two in some cases is by geographical range: X. dolosa is not found west of a line from Texas to North Dakota and Manitoba. See BugGuide's c-nigrum/dolosa complex page.
Not to be confused with The Hebrew, Polygrammate hebraeicum.
Print References
Powell, J. A. & P. A. Opler, Moths of Western North America, p. 315, Pl. 58.21.(1)
Lafontaine, J. D., 1998. Moths of America North of Mexico, Fascicle 27.3: p. 132; pl. 3.27-29.(2)
Handfield, Louis. 1999. Les Guides des Papillons du Quebec. Broquet. 662 pp.
Internet References
Moth Photographers Group - range map, photos of living and pinned adults.
BOLD - Barcode of Life Data Systems - species account with collection map and photos of pinned adults.
live adult images and common name reference [Setaceous Hebrew Character] (Moths and Butterflies of Europe and North Africa)
distribution map plus common name references, synonyms, type localities, foodplants, flight season, references (Markku Savela, FUNET)
worldwide distribution; PDF doc plus habitat and foodplants (J.D. Lafontaine and D.M. Wood, Butterflies and Moths of the Yukon)
presence in South Carolina; county distribution map listed as X. adela (John Snyder, Furman U., South Carolina)
presence in California; list (U. of California at Berkeley)
distribution in Canada list of provinces and territories (U. of Alberta, using CBIF data)
Works Cited
1.Moths of Western North America
Powell and Opler. 2009. UC Press.
2.The Moths of America North of Mexico, Noctuiodea, Noctuinae, Noctuini (Part), Fascicle 27.3
J. Donald LaFontaine. 1998. The Wedge Entomological Research Foundation.