ursula wainscot

(Leucania ursula)

Hodges #


ursula wainscot


Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not listed


NNR - Unranked


not listed


Common in eastern United States, uncommon in Minnesota.


Two generations per year: April to September


Old fields, wetlands

Photo by Alfredo Colon

Total Length: ¾ (19 mm)

Wingspan: 1 (35 mm)


Ursula wainscot is medium-sized owlet moth but a medium-large wainscot moth. It occurs in North America east of the Great Plains. In the United States it is common in the east and the Midwest. In Canada it occurs in Quebec and Ontario. It is uncommon in Minnesota, where it is at the western extent of its range. Adults are found from April to September. Larvae (caterpillars) are found on crabgrass and honeysuckle and possibly also on quackgrass and orchard grass.

Adults are ¾ (19 mm) long and have a wingspan of 1 (35 mm).

The forewing is grayish-brown or yellowish-brown and is densely peppered with coarse dark scales. It is relatively unmarked, showing little of the streaking common on other wainscot moths. 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 are pale without a distinct border and without dark scales. The reniform spot has a small but conspicuous dark spot in the inner half. There is no wedge-shaped spot near the inner margin (claviform spot). There are three dark horizontal lines; the antemedial (AM) line between the basal and median areas; the postmedial (PM) line that separates the median area from the postmedial area; and the terminal line at the outer margin. The AM line is scalloped but much broken and inconspicuous. The PM line is scalloped and broken but conspicuous. It consists of a dark dot on the veins and a crescent-shaped mark between the veins. The terminal line is a straight row of black dots, one at the end of each cell. There are three darker gray areas; one above the orbicular spot, one between the orbicular and reniform spots, and a faint, triangular one on the inner half of the wing tip.

The hindwings are dark grayish-brown or yellowish-brown.

The head and thorax are the same color as the forewings. On the upper side of the thorax there is a tuft of hairs that is dark just behind the head, otherwise the same color as the forewing. The antennae are threadlike on both the male and the female. The pair of small, finger-like processes (labial palps) curving up from the lower part of the head are the same color as the thorax and forewing.

Males have a large and conspicuous tuft of hairs on the fourth segment (tibia) of the front leg.

The larva (caterpillar) is 13 16 to 1 (30 to 35 mm) long.



Larval Food

Crabgrass and honeysuckle, possibly also quackgrass and orchard grass

Adult Food


Life Cycle



Adults are active at night and will come to lights.

Distribution Distribution Map  

Sources: 21, 24, 29, 30, 71, 72, 75.


The genus Leucania was previously placed in the subfamily Hadeninae.



Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths)











No Rank:



No Rank:




Noctuoidea (noctuid moths)



Noctuidae (owlet moths)



Noctuinae (cutworms or dart moths)



Leucaniini (Wainscots)







ursula wainscot








Antemedial (AM) line

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


Orbicular spot

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



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 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 near the costal margin on the forewing of many moths of the Noctuidae family.



The fourth segment of an insect leg, after the femur and before the tarsus (foot). The fifth segment of a spider leg or palp.






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Alfredo Colon
  ursula wainscot    
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Alfredo Colon
Summer 2018

Location: Woodbury, Minnesota

ursula wainscot

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Created: 12/19/2019

Last Updated:

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