Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFNoctuidae Members: 202 NC Records

Acronicta modica (Grote, 1882) - Hesitant Dagger


Taxonomy
Superfamily: Noctuoidea Family: NoctuidaeSubfamily: AcronictinaeP3 Number: 931466.00 MONA Number: 9245.00 MONA Synonym: Acronicta haesitata
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. This species is placed in subgenus Lepitoreuma by Schmidt and Anweiler, and in the Increta Species Group. Other members of this group in North Carolina include albarufa, ovata, exilis, immodica (=modica), increta, and tristis.
Species Status:

Note the change in name! This species was previously named Acronicta haesitata but was recently changed by Schmidt and Anweiler (2020) to Acronicta modica, since the type specimen of modica turned out to be what was later called haesitata. Conversely, the species that formerly was identified as modica is now re-named as immodica.

Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984); Beadle and Leckie (2012)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA                                                                                 
Adult Markings: A medium-sized, nearly uniform gray Dagger. The ground color of the forewings is bluish gray, but with small patches of yellowish sometimes present (but not widely suffused across the wing as in immodica). The basal area is not darker than the rest of the wing but the antemedian line is typically dark and conspicuous as is the basal dash. The other transverse lines are weakly edged and the anal dash is often diffuse or obscure. Hindwings are pale fuscous. Acronicta immodica is similar in size and pattern but usually has a more diffuse yellowish tinge across the forewings, a less contrasting antemedian line, and sharper and more conspicuous anal dashes (Forbes, 1954; Schmidt and Anweiler, 2020). According to Forbes, neither A. modica (=haesitata) nor immodica has a reddish shade at the reniform, unlike specimens of albarufa, ovata, exilis, or increta.
Wingspan: 35-43 mm (Forbes, 1954)
Forewing Length: 16.9 mm, males; 18.1 mm, females (Schmidt and Anweiler, 2020)
Adult Structural Features: Apart from size -- which distinguishes exilis from the others -- members of the Increta Species Group show essentially no structural differences, including reproductive structures (Schmidt and Anweiler, 2020)
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution:
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
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Most of our records come from mesic hardwood forests
Larval Host Plants: Larvae feed mainly on White Oak and other oak species; also reported but needing confirmation on Beech and Chestnut (Wagner et al., 2011)
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:

 Photo Gallery for Acronicta modica - Hesitant Dagger

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

Recorded by: Stephen Hall on 2021-08-09
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: David George on 2021-07-31
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: David George on 2021-07-28
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: David L. Heavner on 2021-07-22
Chatham Co.
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Recorded by: tom ward on 2021-06-22
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-06-01
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2021-05-20
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2021-05-01
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-08-11
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Steve Hall on 2020-07-31
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Darryl Willis on 2020-07-19
Cabarrus Co.
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Recorded by: Steve Hall on 2020-07-13
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-06-08
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-06-02
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-06-01
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-05-30
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-05-17
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-07-25
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2019-07-21
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2019-07-11
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2019-06-22
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-06-21
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-06-05
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2019-05-06
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2019-04-22
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Julie Tuttle on 2017-06-24
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: B. Bockhahn, K. Kittelberger, P. Scharf on 2015-06-18
Avery Co.
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Recorded by: Stephen Hall on 2015-05-26
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Paul Scharf on 2015-05-21
Warren Co.
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Recorded by: K. Bischof on 2014-06-11
McDowell Co.
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