lucerne moth

(Nomophila nearctica)

lucerne moth
Photo by Alfredo Colon
  Hodges #

5156

 
 
Conservation Status
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

NNR - Unranked

SNR - Unranked

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
 
Description
 
 

Lucerne moth is a medium-sized moth, a large crambid moth. It occurs throughout the United States, across southern Canada, and in Mexico. It is common in Minnesota. Adults are found from April to November on low herbaceous plants in fields, lawns, roadsides, and weedy waste places. Larvae feed on the foliage of a large variety of low-growing plants, including alfalfa, clover, sweet clover, smartweed, and grasses.

Adults are narrow and long, (15 mm) in length. They have a wingspan of 1516 to 1 (24 to 35 mm).

The forewings are narrow, rounded at the tip, and brown, with darker, blackish-brown spots and streaks, and grayish-brown veins. There is a circular spot in the median area (orbicular spot), a circular spot between the orbicular spot and the inner margin (claviform spot), and a kidney-shaped spot at the end of the discal cell (reniform spot). These spots have dark outlines and paler or slightly paler centers. The orbicular and claviform spots are large and closely spaced, sometimes converging into a single two-lobed spot. The median area sometimes has a small or large orangish patch, at least between the upper and lower spots. There is a dark line below the median area (postmedial of PM line). The PM line curves upward beyond the middle then angles sharply downward approaching the inner margin. There are four dark spots at the leading edge (costal margin) on the lower half of the wing, and a dark patch in the subterminal area near the costal margin. The outer margin has singular, narrowly triangular, forward-pointing spots between the veins. The fringe is banded white and dark brown. The hindwing is broader than the forewing. It is pale tan with gray streaks and dark brown veins but is otherwise unmarked. The fringe on the hindwing is white.

The antennae are slender and thread-like. The finger-like sensory organs (palps) attached to the mouth are long and densely hairy. They are projected forward, appearing like a fuzzy snout.

The caterpillar may be pale and reddish-brown or brownish-gray, or it may be dark and gray. The head is black. The thoracic shield is pale with two large black bumps that cover more than half of the upper surface. The legs on the thorax are pale. There is a narrow dark stripe in the middle (middorsal) of the thorax and abdomen bordered with white. On each abdominal segment there are two pairs of large black bumps on the upper side and a single similar but smaller bump in each side. Each bump has a few long erect hairs (setae).

 
     
 

Size

 
 

Total Length: (15 mm)

Wingspan: 1516 to 1 (24 to 35 mm)

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
     
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Fields, lawns, roadsides, and weedy waste places

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Season

 
 

April to November

 
     
 

Behavior

 
 

Adults hold their wings folded flat and overlapped when at rest. They are active at night and will come to light.

 
     
 

Life Cycle

 
 

 

 
     
 

Larva Hosts

 
 

Foliage of a large variety of low-growing plants, including alfalfa, clover, sweet clover, smartweed, and grasses.

 
     
 

Adult Food

 
 

 

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

21, 24, 27, 29, 30, 72, 75, 82.

 
  12/21/2020      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Common in Minnesota

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
 

Order

Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths)  
 

Suborder

Glossata  
 

Infraorder

Neolepidoptera  
  Parvorder Heteroneura  
  No Rank Ditrysia  
  No Rank Obtectomera  
 

Superfamily

Pyraloidea (pyralid and crambid snout moths)  
 

Family

Crambidae (crambid snout moths)  
 

Subfamily

Spilomelinae  
 

Genus

Nomophila  
       
 

In 2009 the spelling of the genus name was changed from Nomophilia to Nomophila.

 
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

Nomophilia nearctica

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

clover nomophila

lucerne moth (adult)

American Celery Webworm (caterpillar)

Celery Stalkworm (caterpillar)

False Webworm (caterpillar)

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Claviform spot

A round or wedge-shaped spot in the inner median are between the orbicular spot and the inner margin on the forewing of many moths.

 

Orbicular spot

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

 

Palp

Short for pedipalp. A segmented, finger-like process of an arthropod; one is attached to each maxilla and two are attached to the labium. They function as sense organs in spiders and insects, and as weapons in scorpions. Plural: palpi.

 

Postmedial (PM) line

A thin line separating the median area and the postmedial area of the forewing of Lepidoptera.

 

Reniform spot

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

 

Seta

A stiff, hair-like process on the outer surface of an organism. In Lepidoptera: A usually rigid bristle- or hair-like outgrowth used to sense touch. In mosses: The stalk supporting a spore-bearing capsule and supplying it with nutrients. Plural: setae.

 

 

 

 

 

       
Visitor Photos
   

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Alfredo Colon
       
  lucerne moth    
       
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
   
       
       
       

 

Camera

     
Slideshows
   
  Lucerne Moth (Nomophila nearctica)
Andree Reno Sanborn
 
  Lucerne Moth (Nomophila nearctica)  
     
  Nomophila
Bill Keim
 
  Nomophila  
 
About

Family: Crambidae
Subfamily: Spilomelinae
Tribe: Nomophilini
Genus: Nomophila

- Nomophila nearctica (Lucerne Moth)

 
     

 

slideshow

       
Visitor Videos
   

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Other Videos
 
  Crambid Moth (Crambidae: Nomophila nearctica) on Blossom
Carl Barrentine
 
   
 
About

Sep 5, 2010

Photographed at Kellys Slough NWR, North Dakota (05 September 2010). Go here to learn more about this species: http://bugguide.net/node/view/9485

   
       
  Lucerne Moth (Crambidae: Nomophila nearctica) Dorsal View
Carl Barrentine
 
   
 
About

Oct 13, 2011

Photographed at the Turtle River State Park, North Dakota (09 October 2011). Thank you to Paul Dennehy (@Bugguide.net) for confirming the identity of this specimen!

   
       

 

Camcorder

         
Visitor Sightings
   

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Alfredo Colon
8/15/2019

Location: Woodbury, MN

lucerne moth


         
         
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Created: 12/21/2020

Last Updated:

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