asteroid moth

(Cucullia asteroides)

               
Hodges #

10200

asteroid moth

 

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not listed

NatureServe

NNR - Unranked

Minnesota

not listed

Occurrence

Common

Flight/Season

One generation per year in Minnesota: Early July to mid-August

Habitat

Fields and meadows, edges of forests and woodlands

Size

Total Length: to 1 (23 to 29 mm)

Wingspan: 1¾ to 2¼ (44 to 56 mm)

          Photo by Alfredo Colon
 
Identification

Cucullia is a large genus of owlet moths with about 250 species worldwide, 36 species in North America north of Mexico. It is the only genus in the subfamily Cuculliinae. They are called hooded owlet moths due to a thick tuft of long hairs on the thorax that can be projected forward and curled over the head like a cowl or hood. Asteroid moth (Cucullia asteroides) is a common and widespread hooded owlet moth. It occurs east of the Rocky Mountains in the United States and southern Canada. It is common in Minnesota.

Adults are to 1 (23 to 29 mm) long and have a wingspan of 1¾ to 2¼(44 to 56 mm).

The forewing is long, narrow, pointed at the tip, pale gray, and sometimes tinged with blue or violet. There is a brown to blackish splotch on the leading edge (costal margin), and another one on the inner margin that widens as it approaches the anal angle on the outer margin. The postmedial (PM) line absent except for a small crescent near the inner margin. There is a circular spot in the median area (orbicular spot) and a kidney-shaped spot at the end of the discal cell (reniform spot). Both spots have brown centers ringed with dull white and thinly outlined with brown. On some individuals these spots are barely discernible. The hindwing is nearly white with a narrow brown border on males, a broad brown border on females.

The caterpillar is stout, smooth, and up to 1¾ (4.5 cm) long. It is usually green or yellowish-green, sometimes brown or purplish, with several thin, black or dark brown, longitudinal lines. There is a bright yellow stripe in the upper middle (middorsal stripe), often edged with white and bordered on each side with a thin black line. The breathing pores (spiracles) are white outlined with black. There are two thin lines in the subdorsal area, two in the supraspiracular area. In the spiracular area there is a broad line, yellow above and white below, bordered with thin black lines. Mature caterpillars are present from August to October.

 
Similar
Species

 

 
Larval Food

Mostly flowers but also leaves of goldenrod and aster

 
Adult Food

 

 
Life Cycle

Pupa overwinter in a cocoon underground

 
Behavior

When at rest the wings are folded over the body, the “hood” is curled over the head, and the front legs are stretched forward. It is well camouflaged, looking much like the twig on which it perches.

 
Distribution Distribution Map  

Sources: 21, 24, 27, 29, 30, 71, 75.

 
Comments

 

 
Taxonomy

Order:

Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths)

 

Suborder:

Glossata

 

Infraorder:

Neolepidoptera

 

Parvorder:

Heteroneura

 

No Rank:

Ditrysia

 

No Rank:

Obtectomera

 

Superfamily:

Noctuoidea (noctuid moths)

 

Family:

Noctuidae (owlet moths)

 

Subfamily:

Cuculliinae

 

Genus:

Cucullia (hooded owlets)

 
Synonyms

 

 
Common
Names

asteroid moth

asteroid, the

goldenrod hooded owlet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Anal angle

The angle at the corner formed where the outer and inner margins meet.

 

Costal margin

The leading edge of the forewing of insects.

 

Spiracle

A small opening on the surface of an insect through which the insect breathes.

 

 

 

 

 

       
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Alfredo Colon
       
  asteroid moth   asteroid moth
       
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
   
       
       

 

Camera

     
Slideshows
   
  Goldenrod Hooded Owlet - Hodges#10200 (Cucullia asteroides)
Andree Reno Sanborn
 
  Goldenrod Hooded Owlet - Hodges#10200 (Cucullia asteroides)  
     

 

slideshow

       
Visitor Videos
   
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Other Videos
 
  Cucullia asteroides
Carl Barrentine
 
   
 
About

Aug 11, 2010

Photographed at the Rydell NWR, Minnesota (10 August 2010). Go here to learn more about this species: http://bugguide.net/node/view/7845

   
       
  GOLDENROD HOODED OWLET caterpillar feeding Cucullia asteroides
Rob Curtis
 
   
 
About

Feb 10, 2016

Cucullia asteroides GOLDENROD HOODED OWLET caterpillar feeding on New England Aster flower. Rollins Savannah, IL 9/26/2013

   
       

 

Camcorder

         
Visitor Sightings
   
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Alfredo Colon
Summer 2018

Location: Woodbury, MN

asteroid moth


     
     
 
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Created: 1/14/2019

Last Updated:

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