|scientific name Acronicta vulpina |
common name Vulpina Dagger Moth
Mature deciduous and mixed wood forest; urban plantations.
Adults have been collected in Alberta from late May through early July.
A medium-size (4.0-4.4 cm wingspan) chalky white moth lightly dusted with gray scales. The normal lines are reduced to a few black spots where they would meet the costa and a series of small dots marking the terminal line. Other markings include a short basal streak, a few dark scales at the orbicular, a small crescent for the reniform. Several small spots or streaks on the upper half, and a larger black blotch and streak in the anal angle indicate the subterminal line. The hindwings are white with a small discal mark and a series of black spots along the margin at the veins. Sexes similar but females with a few more dark scales, especially along the veins of the hindwings. Very similar to and easily confused with A. lepusculina, which is pale grey instead of white, and has more complete wing markings. Vulpina is the whitest of our Dagger moths. Until very recently Vulpina was treated as a subspecies of the Old World species leporina, but has since been shown to be a separate species, with both species occurring together in eastern Russia. The Alberta population is usually referred to subspecies cretatoides Benjamin.
Acronicta vulpina is a solitary defoliator. There is a single brood each year, which overwinters as pupae. The adults come to both light and sugar bait. The larvae are covered with long soft pale yellow hair, pointing forward on one side and backward on the other, due to the habit of resting with the body doubled sideways. There are several small hair pencils, white and black, which do not exceed the length of the yellow hair.
A fairly common and widespread species; no concerns.
No specific Alberta data; Canadian records (which includes Alberta data) list Aspen poplar (Populus tremuloides), White birch (Betula papyrifera), Balsam poplar (Populus basamifera), willow (Salix sp.) and Speckled alder (Alnus rugosa) (1 record only) with aspen and White birch most frequently recorded (Prentice, 1962).
New York and Newfoundland west to central BC, south to Colorado. In Alberta found throughout the wooded areas, north into the southern Boreal forest and the Peace River region; also in the Cypress Hills.
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