|scientific name Euxoa messoria |
common name Reaper Dart, Dark-sided Cutworm
Open areas such as grasslands, cultivated areas and clearings.
Adults have been collected in Alberta mid July-late September, with the peak in late August.
A medium-size (3.2-3.6 cm wingspan) brownish-grey moth. Male antennae are strongly biserrate and bifasculate; female simple. Head and thorax even grey-brown without contrasting prothoracic collar. The basal, antemedian and postmedian lines on the forewings usually well marked and doubled, the later narrowly toothed at the veins. The orbicular and reniform spots are well defined, with the orbicular a large oval. A median line or shade is often present. The terminal area is narrowly darker than the remainder of the wing. Fringe concolorous with wing. Hindwing white in male, shading to light smoky-brown on the margin, more extensively dark shaded in females. There is a small discal dot, the veins are narrowly lined with brown scales, and the fringe is mostly white.
Form "atrifera" lacks the cross-lines on the forewings and has a broad black basal dash and a black streak before and between the orbicular and reniform, and the costa is often contrasting paler than the remainder of the wing.
Messoria belongs to the subgenus Longivesica, characterized by the extremely long vesica in the male and by the very long appendix bursae, twice the length of the corpus bursae, in females. Lafontaine (1987) provides keys to the subgenera and species of Euxoa>, and illustrates the genitalia of both sexes.
There is a single brood each year, with the eggs over wintering. The larvae are climbing cutworms, sometimes damaging small trees and becoming pests on various crops. The larvae are active in spring and early summer. The prepupal period is reported to be variable in length (Crumb, 1956). Adults and larvae are both nocturnal, and adults are attracted to both sugar baits and light.
A common, widespread species occasionally reaching pest status; no concerns.
A wide variety of plants in many families, including tobacco, corn and a wide variety of vegetables. The larvae prefer broad-leaved plants, but also consume grasses and corn seedlings.
Newfoundland west to Yukon, south to Virginia and Missouri in the east and New Mexico, Arizona and California in the west. In Alberta messoria has been collected throughout the southern half of the province.
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