Noctuid ident

Don Lafontaine burnbank at
Tue Apr 25 18:28:16 EDT 2000

"A picture's worth a thousand words" or in the case of noctuids "10,000
words!!"  There's a few critical pieces missing here, to even come close to
a guess. First, is it flying now, like Orthosia rubescens and Cerastis
tenebrifera, both of which have pectinate antennae, or in the fall like
Xestia dilucida?  Even better, are there sclerotized setae sticking out of
the fore, mid, and hind tibia between the two pairs of mid-tibial "spurs"
and in front of the single terminal pair ofhind tibial "spurs."  If the mid
and hind tibia have the setae then it's likely a Noctuinae; if the foretibia
lack them it's probably Xestia dilucida, which usually occurs in open pine
barrens with lots of blueberry present. Both Xestia dilucida and Cerastis
tenebrifera have paler contrasting reniform and orbicular spots and both
have a horay dusting of gray scales but I haven't seen a Cerastis more than
1.5" across. (Both are illustrated in the 1998 MONA).  Getting warmer?

Incidentally, an early summer flier could still be a Hemipachnobia!! A third
species has recently been discovered in Maryland that's large like
subprorphyrea; it still occurs in bogs but has nothing to do with Venus
Fly-trap so it could be in the highlands.


"DR. JAMES ADAMS" wrote:

> Dear listers, especially those interested in noctuids,
>         No picture with this one, other than the one I can paint in your
> head.  The moth is certainly one I have never encountered
> previously -- initial impression is something near Hemipachnobia
> subporphyrea (see recent MONA fascicle on the Noctuinae).  It is a
> male, roughly < or = 2 inches in wingspan, with a warm brownish
> appearance, though overlain with more grayish terminally on the
> forewings.  The whole moth has a hoary-ish appearance -- sort of
> frosted with grey, pretty hairy thorax, *obviously* bipectinate
> antennae.  The hindwings are dark greyish, and the underside of all
> wings is relatively unmarked grey.  As for markings on the
> forewings -- two lines just a little darker than the ground color: the
> outer one is PM/ST and curved, the inner one is bent near the
> costa but (irregularly) straight to the posterior edge.  There is an
> oblong, slightly bent greyish reniform spot, and another smaller
> round cellular spot, also grey.  Neither spot is spectacularly darker
> than the background, though both are clear.
>         So, what do you think?  Anybody?  By the way, the moth was
> caught in the mountainous Highlands area, far from the coastal
> bogs where H. subporphyrea is supposed to be found.
>         James
> Dr. James K. Adams
> Dept. of Natural Science and Math
> Dalton State College
> 213 N. College Drive
> Dalton, GA  30720
> Phone: (706)272-4427; fax: (706)272-2533
> U of Michigan's President James Angell's
>   Secret of Success: "Grow antennae, not horns"

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