lucerne moth

(Nomophila nearctica)

               
Hodges #

5156

lucerne moth

 

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not listed

NatureServe

NNR - Unranked

SNR - Unranked

Minnesota

not listed

Occurrence

Common in Minnesota

Flight/Season

April to November

    Photo by Alfredo Colon
Habitat

Fields, lawns, roadsides, and weedy waste places

Size

Total Length: (15 mm)

Wingspan: 1516 to 1 (24 to 35 mm)

 
 
Identification

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).

 
Similar
Species

 

 
Larval Food

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

 
Adult Food

 

 
Life Cycle

 

 
Behavior

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

 
Distribution Distribution Map  

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

 
Comments

 

 
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.

 

 

 

 

 

       
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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

       
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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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