ursula wainscot

(Leucania ursula)

ursula wainscot
Photo by Alfredo Colon
  Hodges #

10461

 
 
Conservation Status
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

NNR - Unranked

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
 
Description
 
 

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.

 
     
 

Size

 
 

Total Length: ¾ (19 mm)

Wingspan: 1 (35 mm)

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
     
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Old fields, wetlands

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Season

 
 

Two generations per year: April to September

 
     
 

Behavior

 
 

Adults are active at night and will come to lights.

 
     
 

Life Cycle

 
 

 

 
     
 

Larva Hosts

 
 

Crabgrass and honeysuckle, possibly also quackgrass and orchard grass

 
     
 

Adult Food

 
 

 

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

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

 
  12/19/2019      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Common in eastern United States, uncommon in Minnesota.

 
         
 
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

Noctuinae (cutworms or dart moths)  
 

Tribe

Leucaniini (wainscots)  
 

Genus

Leucania  
       
 

The genus Leucania was previously placed in the subfamily Hadeninae.

 
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

 

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

ursula wainscot

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

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 outer median area near the antemedial line 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 near the postmedial line on the forewing of many moths.

 

Tibia

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

 
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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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