Entomology Collection TitleImage Bugs Pinned
Species Page - Autographa californica
species list search results ->Autographa californica ->species page

E-mail this Page   
Print this Page   
Link to this Page   

scientific name    Autographa californica    

common name     Alfalfa Looper Moth

Open meadows, hayfields, croplands, gardens and woodland edges.

Adults are collected occasionally in late May, but the main flight is from late July through October

A medium-size (3.6-4.2 cm wingspan) grey-black moth with a silvery sheen in fresh specimens. Forewings are mottled pale grey in the basal and subterminal areas, with dark blackish-brown in the lower median area and along the subterminal line. The antemedian and postmedian lines and the area below the stigma are dark red-brown. Stigma is silvery white, forming an outward curving arc with a rounded tip and with a widely separated fork at the upper end. About one-third of the way down the subterminal line is a black dash which connects the subterminal and postmedian lines. This black dash is diagnostic and will separate californica from the very similar A. pseudogamma. Hindwings are dark sooty brown-black, paler in the basal half and shading into a wide dark terminal band. The antennae are simple and both the sexes are alike.

life history
Adults are both noctural and diurnal, and have been collected in light traps as well as while nectaring during the day. In late fall, they can be quite common and found nectaring during the afternoon at late blooming plants such as Alfalfa and garden Marigolds. It appears that there is a small spring emergence and a much larger late summer and fall generation in Alberta.

A widespread, common species, and a crop pest south of Alberta. No concerns.

diet info
No Alberta data. A pest on a variety of forage and vegetable crops further south, and probably also a variety of native herbaceous plants. Eichelin and Cunningham (1978) list over 50 genera in over 25 families of herbaceous plants and woody shrubs used as hosts by larvae of californica.

A western species, found from northern Mexico to Alaska, east to Manitoba, South Dakota, Kansas and New Mexico. It is a common and widespread species in Alberta, north in the Foothills, Grasslands and Aspen Parklands region and into the southern Boreal Forest.

quick link

Comments (0)Add New Comment

Comments are published according to our submission guidelines. The EH Strickland Entomological Museum does not necessarily endorse the views expressed.

Add New Comment (all fields are required)

Related Species Info
Display Hierarchy
References (2)
Specimen Info
There are 142 specimens of this species in the online database
Map Distribution
Adult Seasonal Distributioncreate a collection histogram with specimens
Specimen List (142)
Related Links
Moth Photographers Group


Logo Department of Museums and Collections ServicesLogo University of Alberta