American Dagger Moth Caterpillar and Adult

American Dagger Moth – Acronicta americana
Family: Noctuidae (cutworm moths) Live adult moths photographed at northern Illinois.
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Dagger moth larvae feed on leaves of many different tree species

Amercan Dagger Moth Caterpillar

Dagger moth larvae feed on leaves of alder, ash, birch, elm, hickory, maple, oak, poplar, walnut, willow and other deciduous trees. Caterpillar is moderately large, densely clothed in long white or yellowish setae of variable length; long, paired black lashes on first and third abdominal segments and unpaired medial lash on eighth segment. Head black. June to October; 2 generations in South, 1 in North.
– (U.S. Department of the Interior U.S. Geological Survey)

Amercan Dagger Moth
American Dagger Moth Adult – photo courtesy Cindy Mead

Order Lepidoptera: Moths. Unlike the butterflies, moths are usually nocturnal. Many moths and their caterpillars are major agricultural pests in large parts of the world. Moths in the family Tineidae are commonly regarded as pests because their larvae eat fabrics, clothes and blankets made from natural fibers such as wool or silk. Moths in the genus Farinalis feed on stored grain, flour, corn meal and other milled grain products.
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