Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFNoctuidae Members: 244 NC Records

Acronicta afflicta Grote, 1864 - Afflicted Dagger


Taxonomy
Superfamily: Noctuoidea Family: NoctuidaeSubfamily: AcronictinaeP3 Number: 931471.00 MONA Number: 9254.00
Comments: One of 74 species in this genus found in North America north of Mexico (Schmidt and Anweiler, 2020), 42 of which have been recorded in North Carolina. Placed in subgenus Lepitoreuma by Schmidt and Anweiler (2020), which contains nine species in North Carolina, and further joined by Acronicta brumosa to form the Afflicta Species Group.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984); Beadle and Leckie (2012)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONATechnical Description, Adults: Forbes (1954); Schmidt and Anweiler (2020)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Forbes (1954); Wagner (2005); Wagner et al. (2011); Anweiler and Schmidt (2020)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The ground color of the forewings is generally blackish with a brownish cast; small, diffuse patches of white are also present. A black, bar-shaped basal dash is present but the most conspicuous marking is the orbicular spot, which is round, filled with white, but with a diffuse grayish central spot. The hindwings are off-white, with fuscous shading on the veins and more generally towards the outer margin (Forbes, 1954; Schmidt and Anweiler, 2020). Acronicta brumosa is similar in pattern but the forewings are not shaded with brown and appear more bluish-gray. The basal dash is also longer in brumosa and the orbicular is more oval-shaped and is filled with pale gray rather than white. Acronicta hamamelis is another dark, brownish-gray species but has darkly-shaded hindwings and has a more elliptical orbicular that is shaded with dark gray.
Wingspan: 40 mm (Forbes, 1954)
Forewing Length: 17.4 mm, males; 18.3 mm, females (Schmidt and Anweiler, 2020)
Adult Structural Features: Reproductive structures are distinctive in both males and females and can be used to distinguish afflicta from brumosa (see Schmidt and Anweiler, 2020, for a detailed description and illustrations)
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: Larvae vary in color but possess spatulate setae. In afflicta, a single pair of spatulate setae are present dorsally on each segment; in brumosa, which is otherwise similar, two pairs exists per segment (Schmidt and Anweiler, 2020).
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Occurs statewide, from the high mountains to the barrier islands
County Map: Clicking on a county returns the records for the species in that county.
Flight Dates:
 High Mountains (HM) ≥ 4,000 ft.
 Low Mountains (LM) < 4,000 ft.
 Piedmont (Pd)
 Coastal Plain (CP)

Click on graph to enlarge
Immature Dates:
 High Mountains (HM) ≥ 4,000 ft.
 Low Mountains (LM) < 4,000 ft.
 Piedmont (Pd)
 Coastal Plain (CP)

Click on graph to enlarge
Flight Comments: Adults are seen from spring to late summer, with possibly two peaks in abundance
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Schmidt and Anweiler (2020) state that this species is most common in xeric oak woodlands and some of our largest single samples come from dry, ridgetop oak forests. However, we also have records from bottomland and cove forests, as well as cool, mesic stands of high elevation red oak forests.
Larval Host Plants: Larvae feed on Oak, including species in both the Red and White Oak groups (Wagner, et al., 2011)
Observation Methods: Comes well to blacklights but records from bait are absent
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for General Oak-Hickory Forests
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G5 S5
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: This species is relatively common and occupies a wide range of habitats and occurs throughout the state. Consequently, it appears to be secure in North Carolina.

 Photo Gallery for Acronicta afflicta - Afflicted Dagger

58 photos are available. Only the most recent 30 are shown.

Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-10-02
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: M. Prinz on 2021-09-16
Moore Co.
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Recorded by: M. Prinz on 2021-09-16
Moore Co.
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Recorded by: Stephen Hall and Bo Sullivan on 2021-09-14
Ashe Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-07-06
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-06-05
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2021-05-21
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Owen McConnell on 2021-05-18
Graham Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2021-05-18
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2021-05-17
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2021-04-27
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2021-04-19
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: David L. Heavner on 2021-04-13
Chatham Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2021-04-08
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Steve Hall and Bo Sullivan on 2021-04-07
Moore Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-10-07
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Michael P. Morales on 2020-09-29
Cumberland Co.
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Recorded by: Michael P. Morales on 2020-09-29
Cumberland Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-09-13
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-09-05
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2020-08-17
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-08-01
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-07-30
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-07-14
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-06-24
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-06-02
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-05-30
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Steve Hall on 2020-05-23
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-05-14
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-05-03
Guilford Co.
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