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Moths of Troy Meadows
The Moths

Subfamily: Plusiinae
 Speckled Nettle Moth

Species: Abrostola urentis

Hodges: 8881

Flight Period: May - August

Length: 17mm

Peterson: 375

Hosts: Stinging Nettle (Urtica sp.).

Field Notes: Not to be confused with Prominents this moth when viewed laterally has a distinct thoracic hump (red arrow in image to the right). With a short flight window and the fact it's a specialist larvae feeder of stinging meadow dictates you have to survey for it in the right place and at the right time. Abrostola urentis¬†has the largest North American distribution of the four species in the genus¬†Abrostola. The range extends to the Atlantic Coast across the boreal zone of southern Canada and the adjacent United States, occurring as far north as central Alberta and Nova Scotia and as far south as the mountains of eastern North Carolina. Like the Latin genus name for stinging nettle Urtica the species name urentis means "to burn".

Lateral View
Stinging Nettle Flower Head
(Urtica dioica)
Dorsal View
Spring Quakers, Woodlings, Woodgrains
Subfamily: Noctuinae
 Distinct Quaker

Species: Achatia distincta

Hodges: 10518

Flight Period: Late March - Mid June

Length: 20mm

Peterson: 485

Hosts: Deciduous trees apple, maple, oak, grape butternut, birch, ash

Field Notes: No wonder this moth is a member of the Spring Quaker family. This is one of the first moths to fly in early spring out at the Meadows. In this respect it is the harbinger of a new year of moth-searching. It seems like any deciduous tree is fair fodder for the caterpillar of this moth. This polyphagous behavior is probably the reason why the moth is one of our most common spring-time species. It will come to lights in small numbers.

 Garden Webworm

Species: Achyra rantalis

Tortrix Leafroller
Subfamily: Tortricinae
Tribes: Tortricini, Eulini,Cnephasiini
 Oak Leafshredder

Species: Acleris semipurpurana

Hodges: 3503

Flight Period: Mid June - July

Length: 8mm

Peterson: 85

Hosts: Oak

Field Notes: WARNING: A highly variable moth so we suggest you use the picture to your right along with all other field guides to make a proper identification of any specimen you think might be this species. Two great online resources are available to help you: Moth photographers Group and BugGuide.

A small observation period exists for the adult moth so if you weren't looking during its 45 day flight period you'll likely miss it - being a mere 8mm in length doesn't help much either. As a matter of factor all the tortix leafrollers rarely exceed 9mm (the width of a pinky nail). It can be found anywhere near oak dominated forests areas out at the Meadows and in your backyard.

Dorsal View
 Clemens' Grass Tubeworm Moth

Species: Acrolophus popeanella

 Afflicted Dagger

Species: Acronicta afflicta

 Speared Dagger Moth

Species: Acronicta hasta

 Yellow-haired Dagger Moth

Species: Acronicta impleta

 Impressed Dagger

Species: Acronicta impressa

Subfamily: Acronictinae
 Greater Oak Dagger

Species: Acronicta lobeliae

Hodges: 9238

Flight Period: April - Mid September

Length: 21-32mm

Peterson: 401

Hosts: Deciduous trees including oak, apple, birch, elm, cherry

Field Notes: Not much is known about this boldly marked Acronictid. It does show up at lights occasionally. It's one of those moths that when you see it you say to yourself "I knew you were going to get here eventually". Since it is capable of two broods in a season you just never know when they will appear. The bold apical dashes make this dagger pretty recognizable as opposed to many of its ilk that can be extremely close morphologically.

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