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Species Tathorhynchus exsiccata - Alfalfa Looper - Hodges#8466

Noctuid - Tathorhynchus exsiccata Alfalfa Looper - Tathorhynchus exsiccata Noctuidae: Tathorhynchus exsiccata - Tathorhynchus exsiccata gray moth - Tathorhynchus exsiccata Tathorhynchus exsiccata - Alfalfa Looper - Hodges#8466 - Tathorhynchus exsiccata Moth, dorsal - Tathorhynchus exsiccata Arizona Moth - Tathorhynchus exsiccata Tathorhynchus exsiccata
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 Toxocampinae
Genus Tathorhynchus
Species exsiccata (Alfalfa Looper - Hodges#8466)
Hodges Number
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Tathorhynchus exsiccatus; originally placed in genus Spintherops by Lederer in 1855
Lygephila exsiccata
Platysenta angustiorata
Scopula vinctalis
Tathorhyncus greuteri
formerly placed in subfamily Hypeninae
one of 2 species in this genus in North America listed at All-Leps
wingspan about 28-32 mm, based on two Internet photos
Adult: forewing light brownish-gray with diffuse dark shading beyond subterminal line; dark basal dash and dark strip between pale reniform and orbicular spots; reniform spot contains two dark dots; pale streaking along veins, and some dark speckling along costa; PM line faint or absent; fringe dark; hindwing pale gray or tan with large dark gray patch along upper two-thirds of outer margin; fringe pale except for some dark scales bordering the dark patch
southern United States (Florida to California), north through the central states to Canada (Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan)
native to Africa, southern Asia, and Australia
also introduced to Argentina and Dominica
open areas containing the larval foodplants; adults are nocturnal and come to light
adults fly from June to September in the North, April to November in the south
larvae feed on alfalfa, indigo (Indigofera spp.), and Spanish Broom (Spartium junceum)
Life Cycle
probably multiple generations per year in the south
Apparently a taxonomically "in-between" species (and genus) whose classification has been difficult for taxonomists. In addition to the characteristics it shares with members of Catocalinae and Hypeninae, the adult's appearance also resembles some dart moths (Noctuinae) and some wainscots (Hadeninae).
Internet References
Moth Photographers Group - range map, photos of living and pinned adults.
pinned adult image plus location and date (Bruce Walsh, Moths of Southeastern Arizona)
synonyms and foodplants plus world distribution map, links to images, references (Markku Savela, FUNET)
presence in California; list of 7 specimens with locations and dates (U. of Caliornia at Berkeley)
presence in Florida; list (John Heppner, Florida State Collection of Arthropods)
presence in Illinois, Michigan, New Mexico with locations and dates; search on species "exsiccata" (Lepidopterists Society Season Summary, U. of Florida)
distribution in Canada list of provinces (U. of Alberta, using CBIF data)