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Species Fagitana littera - Marsh Fern Moth - Hodges#9629

Marsh Fern Moth - Fagitana littera Marsh Fern Moth - Fagitana littera Fagitana littera  - Fagitana littera Fagitana littera Marsh Fern Moth - Fagitana littera Fagitana littera Fagitana littera Fagitana littera
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
No Taxon (Incertae sedis)
Genus Fagitana
Species littera (Marsh Fern Moth - Hodges#9629)
Hodges Number
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
originally placed in genus Leucania by Guenee in 1852
the only species in this genus in America north of Mexico.(1)
wingspan about 27 mm, based on photo by Jim Vargo at MPG
larva length to 30 mm
Adult: forewing dark reddish-brown or purplish-brown with white AM and PM lines edged in black; reniform spot a white horizontal streak; AM line oblique, PM line almost straight, terminal line white, following contour of slightly angled outer margin; fringe dark; hindwing brownish-gray, slightly darker beyond oblique PM line; discal spot large, diffuse; terminal line and fringe dark

Larva: body of mature larva green or reddish-brown, densely mottled with minute white spots that gather into lines; middorsal, subdorsal, and spiracular stripes white, middorsal and subdorsal stripes twice width of spiracular stripe; pale circular pinacula over thorax contrasting with adjacent ground color; head with dark line to either side of triangle; anal prolegs short
early instars bright green with stripes, including supraspiracular, more prominent; head yellowish-green, mostly unmarked or with faint line above eyes and second line to either side of triangle
[adapted from description by David Wagner et al]
Nova Scotia to Florida, west to Mississippi, north to Wisconsin and Ontario
bogs, acidic shrub swamps, wet pine barrens, wetlands; adults are nocturnal, but only males usually come to light
adults fly from June to August, very rarely September
larvae feed on foliage of ferns
widely reported in literature to feed on Eastern Marsh Fern (Thelypteris palustris) apparently based on a single collection on Long Island, New York by Roy Latham; larvae have been reared on Virginia Chainfern (Woodwardia virginica), Royal Fern (Osmunda regalis), and brackenfern (Pteridium)
Life Cycle
one generation per year in the north; two in the south
local and rare over much of range; locally common in selected areas
Print References
Lafontaine J. D., and B. C. Schmidt 2010. Annotated check list of the Noctuoidea (Insecta, Lepidoptera) of North America North of Mexico. p. 86.(1)
Internet References
Moth Photographers Group - species page with photographs of living and pinned adults.
Moth Photographers Group - photographs of pinned adult and related species for comparison.
pinned adult image and distribution (James Adams, Dalton State College, Georgia)
pinned adult image by John Glaser, plus date (Larry Line, Maryland)
pinned adult image by Ron Panzer (Northeastern Illinois U.)
presence in Wisconsin and Michigan dates and locations (Lepidopterists Society Season Summary, U. of Florida)
presence in Florida; list (John Heppner, Florida State Collection of Arthropods)
distribution in Canada list of provinces (U. of Alberta, using CBIF data)
Works Cited
1.Annotated check list of the Noctuoidea (Insecta, Lepidoptera) of North America north of Mexico.
Donald J. Lafontaine, B. Christian Schmidt. 2010. ZooKeys 40: 1–239 .