American Dagger Moth, Acronicta american
Noctuideae or Owlet Moth Family


Adult a fairly large but nondescript moth, pale gray and fuzzy. There are two pairs of dark-rimmed spots on the middle of the wings, and a paler wavy line cossing the wings. The caterpillar is more distinctive, densely covered with white or yellowish hairs, usually darker when younger. There are two pairs of long black lashes near the front and a single tuft of black hairs near the tail end. The head is shiny black and smooth. Adults seen spring to autumn; caterpillars early summer to autumn. Caterpillars feed on a variety of tree leaves.

A common moth east of the Rockies. Caterpillars sighted in Wildwood; adults certainly also present.

The fur and long black hairs make the caterpillar easy to identify. The adult is likely to be overlooked.

Warning: Do not touch the czaterpillar! The hairs can cause skin irritation.


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