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

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L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz

Autographa Hübner

Including Megalographa Lafontaine and Poole.

Adults. Head rough. Eyes glabrous; ciliated. Antennae of males shortly ciliate. Tongue well developed. Labial palps medium to long; ascending.

Wingspan 36–50 mm. Forewings umber- or rose-tinged brown, or glittering grey and brown, with a silvery white, double or single median mark; complexly patterned; the patterning well marked; predominantly shining-metallic, or exhibiting metallic-enamelled effects, or predominantly shining-metallic and exhibiting metallic-enamelled effects; reniform undefined; orbicular undefined; claviform undefined (the conventional stigmata unrecognisable in the complex pattern). Hindwings fuscous; plain, or terminally darkened, or conspicuously patterned (with A. gamma exhibiting a contrasting, dark terminal band); with a clear discal mark, or without a clear discal mark; transversely lined, or without transverse lines; exhibiting vein 5. Vein 5 of the hindwings strong; arising nearer to vein 4 than to vein 6; convergent on vein 4 near their bases. Thorax crested. Middle tibiae without spines. Posterior tibiae with spines; rough-scaled. Abdomen crested.

Living adults found May to September.

Larvae, pupae. Ventral prolegs 4, or 6. Larvae posteriorly humped to posteriorly rounded; feeding on various, unrelated Dicot herbs and shrubs; pupating on vegetative parts of the foodplant.

British representation. 6 species (two adventive). Status in Britain variously indigenous, or breeding immigrants. South-east England, Central-southern England, South-west England, English Midlands, Northern England, Southern Scotland, Northern Scotland, Wales, and Ireland; A. biloba (Stephens’s Gem, = Megalographa), A. bimaculata (Double-spotted Spangle (= Megalographa, probably a spurious record of this North American species), A. bractea (Gold Spangle), A. gamma (Silver Y), A. jota (Plain Golden Y), A. pulchrina (Beautiful Golden Y).


Illustrations. • Autographa gamma (Silver Y), A. jota (Plain Golden Y) and A. pulchrina (Beautiful Golden Y), with other Plusiinae: photos. • A. gamma (Silver Y), A. jota (Plain Golden Y), A. pulchrina (Beautiful Golden Y) and A. bractea (Gold Spangle), with 5 other Plusiinae: Newman. • Larvae and pupae of A. gamma and Plusia festucae: 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.’.