asteroid moth

(Cucullia asteroides)

asteroid moth
Photo by Alfredo Colon
  Hodges #

10200

 
 
Conservation Status
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

NNR - Unranked

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
           
 
Description
 
 

Cucullia is a large genus of owlet moths with about 250 species worldwide, 36 species in North America north of Mexico. It is the only genus in the subfamily Cuculliinae. They are called hooded owlet moths due to a thick tuft of long hairs on the thorax that can be projected forward and curled over the head like a cowl or hood. Asteroid moth (Cucullia asteroides) is a common and widespread hooded owlet moth. It occurs east of the Rocky Mountains in the United States and southern Canada. It is common in Minnesota.

Adults are to 1 (23 to 29 mm) long and have a wingspan of 1¾ to 2¼(44 to 56 mm).

The forewing is long, narrow, pointed at the tip, pale gray, and sometimes tinged with blue or violet. There is a brown to blackish splotch on the leading edge (costal margin), and another one on the inner margin that widens as it approaches the anal angle on the outer margin. The postmedial (PM) line absent except for a small crescent near the inner margin. 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 have brown centers ringed with dull white and thinly outlined with brown. On some individuals these spots are barely discernible. The hindwing is nearly white with a narrow brown border on males, a broad brown border on females.

The caterpillar is stout, smooth, and up to 1¾ (4.5 cm) long. It is usually green or yellowish-green, sometimes brown or purplish, with several thin, black or dark brown, longitudinal lines. There is a bright yellow stripe in the upper middle (middorsal stripe), often edged with white and bordered on each side with a thin black line. The breathing pores (spiracles) are white outlined with black. There are two thin lines in the subdorsal area, two in the supraspiracular area. In the spiracular area there is a broad line, yellow above and white below, bordered with thin black lines. Mature caterpillars are present from August to October.

 
     
 

Size

 
 

Total Length: to 1 (23 to 29 mm)

Wingspan: 1¾ to 2¼ (44 to 56 mm)

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
     
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Fields and meadows, edges of forests and woodlands

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Season

 
 

One generation per year in Minnesota: Early July to mid-August

 
     
 

Behavior

 
 

When at rest the wings are folded over the body, the “hood” is curled over the head, and the front legs are stretched forward. It is well camouflaged, looking much like the twig on which it perches.

 
     
 

Life Cycle

 
 

Pupa overwinter in a cocoon underground

 
     
 

Larva Hosts

 
 

Mostly flowers but also leaves of goldenrod and aster

 
     
 

Adult Food

 
 

 

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

21, 24, 27, 29, 30, 71, 75.

 
  11/14/2019      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Common

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
 

Order

Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths)  
 

Suborder

Glossata  
 

Infraorder

Neolepidoptera  
  Parvorder Heteroneura  
  No Rank Ditrysia  
  No Rank Obtectomera  
 

Superfamily

Noctuoidea (noctuid moths)  
 

Family

Noctuidae (owlet moths)  
 

Subfamily

Cuculliinae  
 

Genus

Cucullia (hooded owlets)  
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

 

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

asteroid moth

asteroid, the

goldenrod hooded owlet

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Anal angle

The angle at the corner formed where the outer and inner margins meet.

 

Costal margin

The leading edge of the forewing of insects.

 

Spiracle

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

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
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Alfredo Colon

 
    asteroid moth   asteroid moth  
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
 
 

 

 
           
           

 

Camera

     
 
Slideshows
 
Goldenrod Hooded Owlet - Hodges#10200 (Cucullia asteroides)
Andree Reno Sanborn
  Goldenrod Hooded Owlet - Hodges#10200 (Cucullia asteroides)  
     

 

slideshow

       
 
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Other Videos
 
  Cucullia asteroides
Carl Barrentine
 
   
 
About

Aug 11, 2010

Photographed at the Rydell NWR, Minnesota (10 August 2010). Go here to learn more about this species: http://bugguide.net/node/view/7845

 
  GOLDENROD HOODED OWLET caterpillar feeding Cucullia asteroides
Rob Curtis
 
   
 
About

Feb 10, 2016

Cucullia asteroides GOLDENROD HOODED OWLET caterpillar feeding on New England Aster flower. Rollins Savannah, IL 9/26/2013

 
       

 

Camcorder

 
 
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  Alfredo Colon
Summer 2018

Location: Woodbury, MN

asteroid moth  
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Sightings
 
 

 

 

 

 

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Created: 1/14/2019

Last Updated:

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