forage looper moth

(Caenurgina erechtea)

               
Hodges #

8739

forage looper moth

 

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not listed

NatureServe

N5 - Secure

Minnesota

not listed

Occurrence

Very common and widespread

Flight/Season

Several generations per year: Late April to November

Habitat

Grasslands, meadows, old fields, roadsides

 
Size

Total Length: to (17 to 23 mm)

Wingspan: 13 16 to 1 (30 to 42 mm)

 
 
Identification

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.

   
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.

 
Larval Food

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

   
Adult Food

 

   
Life Cycle

Pupae overwinter

   
Behavior

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

 
Distribution Distribution Map  

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

 
Comments

Taxonomy
In 1913 this and most other Erebinae moths were transferred from the subfamily Erebinae to the subfamily Catocalinae. A molecular phylogenetic study on the noctuid moths (Superfamily Noctuidea) published in 2005 showed that the original classification was correct, and the subfamily Erebinae was reinstated.

 
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

   
Synonyms

Phalaena erechtea

   
Common
Names

common grass moth

forage looper

forage looper moth

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Orbicular spot

A circular spot or outline in the inner median area on the forewing of many moths in the Noctuidae family.

 

Reniform spot

A kidney-shaped spot or outline in the outer median area near the costal margin on the forewing of many moths of the Noctuidae family.

 

Spiracle

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

 

 

 

 

 

       
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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
   
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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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