Insects of Britain and Ireland: the genera of Lepidoptera-Noctuidae

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L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz

Acronicta Ochsenheimer

Apatela, Apatele Hubner, Cuspidia Chapman, Hyboma Hübner, Jocheaera Hübner, Pharetra Hübner, Semaphora Guenée, Subacronicta Kozhantshikov.

Adults. Head rough. Eyes glabrous; not ciliated. Antennae of males minutely ciliate. Tongue well developed.

Wingspan 30–45 mm. Head, thorax and abdomen generally grey, the abdomen variously similar in colour to the hindwings, or lighter, or darker. Forewings dark or light grey with darker or black markings; pale grey, or grey; neither green nor greenish tinged; plain (almost), or patterned transversely, or complexly patterned (mostly complexly patterned, but almost plain with the pattern reduced to a few dots on some forms of A. leporina); the patterning mostly well marked; reniform defined, or undefined; orbicular defined, or undefined; claviform undefined. Hindwings white, or whitish, or whitish-fuscous, or fuscous, or grey; plain, or terminally darkened; with a clear discal mark (rarely), or without a clear discal mark; transversely lined (strigosa), or without transverse lines (mostly); exhibiting vein 5. Vein 5 of the hindwings weak; arising nearer to vein 6 than to vein 4. Thorax crested to not crested (no more than a slight posterior crest). Middle tibiae without spines. Posterior tibiae without spines; rough-scaled. Abdomen crested (only slightly, basally), or not crested.

Living adults found May to August.

Larvae, pupae. Larvae conspicuously hairy (commonly, sometimes with humps and/or warts); with red markings (often), or without red markings; posteriorly humped (sometimes also anteriorly), or posteriorly rounded; feeding on a wide range of woody and herbaceous Dicots; pupating on vegetative parts of the foodplant, or in or under bark or rotten wood, or on the surface of the ground (in a silken cocoon).

British representation. 12 species (one adventive); South-east England, Central-southern England, South-west England, English Midlands, Northern England, Southern Scotland, Northern Scotland, Wales, and Ireland; A. aceris (The Sycamore), A. alni (The Alder), A. auricoma (Scarce Dagger), A. cuspis (Large Dagger, with only an uncofirmed 19th Century record), A. euphorbiae myricae (Sweet-gale Moth), A. megacephala (Poplar Grey), A. leporina (Miller), A. menyanthidis (Light Knot-grass), A. psi (Grey Dagger), A. rumicis (Knot-grass), A. strigosa (Marsh Dagger), A. tridens (Dark Dagger).


Illustrations. • Acronictinae: Acronicta rumicis (Knot-grass: B. Ent. 136). • Acronicta rumicis: (B. Ent. 136, legend+text. • Acronicta rumicis: B. Ent. 136, text cont.. • 11 Acronicta species, with other Acronictinae: Newman. • Acronictinae: Kirby. • Acronictinae (Cryphia): Kirby. • Larvae of A. aceris (Sycamore) and A. euphorbiae: Duponchel and Guénée (1849). • Larvae of A. megacephala (Poplar Grey) and A. rumicis (Knot-grass): Duponchel and Guénée (1849).

To view the illustrations with detailed captions, go to the interactive key. This also offers full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting or lacking specified attributes, and distributions of character states within any set of taxa.

Cite this publication as: ‘Watson, L., and Dallwitz, M.J. 2003 onwards. Insects of Britain and Ireland: the genera of Lepidoptera-Noctuidae. Version: 8th June 2016.’.