forage looper moth

(Caenurgina erechtea)

forage looper moth
  Hodges #

8739

 
 
Conservation Status
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

N5 - Secure

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
 
Description
 
 

Forage looper moth is a medium-sized, widespread and very common moth. It occurs throughout the United States, in adjacent Canadian provinces and Mexican states, and in China. It is very common in Minnesota. It is found in grasslands, meadows, old fields, and roadsides. It is often abundant in clover fields. Adults are to (17 to 23 mm) long and have a wingspan of 13 16 to 1 (30 to 42 mm). Females are larger colored differently than males. There are several broods each year from late April through September. Individuals in the summer broods are larger than those of the spring broods.

The forewing ground color of the male is pale bluish-gray. The terminal area is darker gray. A broad, oblique, brownish-black band in the antemedial area (AM band) curves toward the rear well before the inner margin. It ends close to but never reaches the inner margin. A similar but straight band in the postmedial area (PM band) ends well before the inner margin. The two bands do not meet. Two spots are important identifying features in many moths. The orbicular spot, in the inner median area, is a small, circular, dark gray dot. The reniform spot, in the outer median area, is large but not apparent. It is fused to and the same color as the PM band. There is a row of dark spots just before the subterminal area. The outer two spots are large, very dark, and sometimes fused together. The remaining spots are small and inconspicuous. The hindwings are light grayish-yellow with darker postmedial and submarginal bands and a dark terminal line. The antennae have a fringe of short hairs (ciliate).

On the female, the forewing color is pale reddish-brown and the dark areas are dark brown. The hindwings are more orangish. The thorax of both sexes is the same color as the ground color of the forewings. The antennae are not ciliate.

The caterpillar is slender and up to 19 16 (4 cm) long. It is highly variable in color and pattern, but is often tan to pale brown and striped. On the upper middle area there is a stripe (middorsal stripe) that consists of a thin white stripe that is bordered with an inner tan to reddish-brown stripe and an outer white stripe. On each side below the breathing pores (spiracles) there is a stripe (subspiracular stripe) that consists of a beige stripe bordered with two pale stripes. The middorsal and subspiracular stripes both extend onto the head. The subspiracular stripes extend to the antennae.

 
     
 

Size

 
 

Total Length: to (17 to 23 mm)

Wingspan: 13 16 to 1 (30 to 42 mm)

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
  Clover looper moth (Caenurgina crassiuscula) is always brown, never gray. On the forewing the AM band touches the inner margin. The AM and PM bands converge at the inner margin.  
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Grasslands, meadows, old fields, roadsides

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Season

 
 

Several generations per year: Late April to November

 
     
 

Behavior

 
 

Adults are active both day and night. Both sexes are attracted to lights.

 
     
 

Life Cycle

 
 

Pupae overwinter

 
     
 

Larval Hosts

 
 

Mostly plants in the pea (Fabaceae) family, especially clover, but also giant ragweed and grasses.

 
     
 

Adult Food

 
 

 

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

7, 21, 24, 27, 29, 30, 71, 75.

 
  10/21/2020      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Very common and widespread

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
 

Order

Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths)  
 

Suborder

Glossata  
 

Infraorder

Neolepidoptera  
  Parvorder Heteroneura  
  No Rank Ditrysia  
  No Rank Obtectomera  
 

Superfamily

Noctuoidea (noctuid moths)  
 

Family

Erebidae  
 

Subfamily

Erebinae  
 

Tribe

Euclidiini  
 

Genus

Caenurgina  
       
 

This genus and species was formerly included in the family Arctiidae. A molecular phylogenetic study on the noctuid moths (Superfamily Noctuidea) published in 2005 clarified the relationships of the noctuid moths and resulted in a reshuffling of the families and subfamilies. The current classification places this genus and species in the family Erebidae.

 
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

Phalaena erechtea

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

common grass moth

forage looper

forage looper moth

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Orbicular spot

A circular spot or outline in the outer median area on the forewing of many moths.

 

Reniform spot

A kidney-shaped spot or outline in the outer median area on the forewing of many moths.

 

Spiracle

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

 

 

 

 

 

       
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Alfredo Colon
       
  forage looper moth    
       
Dan W. Andree
       

Forage Looper Moth...

Funny little head and eyes on it.

  forage looper moth   forage looper moth
       
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
   

Female

  forage looper moth   forage looper moth
       
       

 

Camera

     
Slideshows
   
  Forage Looper (Caenurgina erechtea)
Andree Reno Sanborn
 
  Forage Looper (Caenurgina erechtea)  
     
  Forage Looper (Caenurgina erechtea)
Bill Keim
 
  Forage Looper (Caenurgina erechtea)  

 

slideshow

       
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Other Videos
 
  Forage Looper (Caenurgina erechtea) Close-up
Carl Barrentine
 
   
 
About

Published on May 18, 2013

This Forage Looper Moth (Caenurgina erechtea) seems genuinely annoyed by the advances of the all-too-eager paparazzo. Fisher, Minnesota (18 May 2013).

   
       
  Caenurgina erechtea
wetvideocamera
 
   
 
About

Published on Aug 19, 2014

Forage Looper Moth

   
       
  Forage Looper Moth (Erebidae: Caenurgina erechtea) in Grass
Carl Barrentine
 
   
 
About

Published on May 25, 2010

Photographed at Grand Forks North Dakota (25 May 2010).

   
       

 

Camcorder

         
Visitor Sightings
   
Report a sighting of this moth.
 
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Alfredo Colon
8/4/2019

Location: Woodbury, Minnesota

forage looper moth


Dan W. Andree
8/13/2019

Location: Frenchman’s Bluff SNA

Funny little head and eyes on it.

forage looper moth


     
     
 
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Created: 9/19/2019

Last Updated:

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