|scientific name Abagrotis |
Mainly arid and semi-arid open woodland and shrub habitats.
Alberta species are on the wing late June through mid-September, with most flying in late summer.
Medium-sized grey, brown or red-brown moths, lacking spined foretibiae and with ventrally tufted second and third segments of the labial palpus and a unicolored head and thorax. Females of most species have characteristic broad dorsoventrally flattened abdomens and males, with few exceptions, have filiform antennae. Genitalic characters for the genus and species groups are described in Lafontaine (1998).
The genus Abagrotis belongs in the subfamily Noctuinae in the family Noctuidae. According to Lafontaine (1998) the genus is most closely related to Pronoctua. Until recently, several species of Abagrotis were placed in a separate genus, Rhynchagrotis Smith.
There is a single annual brood, with the larvae passing the winter as partially grown larvae. The larvae are climbing cutworms. The adults can be collected at both light and sugar baits.
Several species are rare and local in Alberta at the edge of their range; none of global concern.
The larvae feed mainly on the foliage of various woody plants in a number of families, with a number of species confined to specific plant genera.
The forty-one described species of Abagrotis are all North American, with the greatest number of species occurring in western North America north of Mexico. Only nine species occur in eastern North America, and five have been recorded from Mexico. Sixteen species have been found in Alberta, one or more of which can be found throughout the province, with the greatest diversity in the wooded valleys of the dry grasslands region.
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