Noctuidae - Acontiinae






Tarache aprica Hübner

Noctua aprica Hübner, [1808], Sammlung Europaischer Schmetterlinge, 4:pl. 80, fig. 371.

Noctua alboater Haworth, 1809, Lepidoptera Britannica, 2:184.

Acontia biplaga Guenée, 1852, Histoire Naturelle des Insectes. Species General des Lépidoptéres, 6:218.

Acontia unocula Freyer, 1849, Neuere Beitrage der Schmetterlinge, 6:86, pl. 534, fig. 3.

Acontia redita Felder and Rogenhofer, 1874, Reise Oesterreichischen Fregatte Novara um die Erde, Zoologie, 2(2):pl. 108, fig. 30.

Diagnosis: The male of Tarache aprica typically has white basal and medial areas with only a single black spot on the costa where the antemedial line would be. Some specimens, however, have the basal area mottled with gray to a degree, and sometimes an antemedial line is visibile. The orbicular is either absent or represented by a minute black dot. The reniform is a small spot nesting in an indentation of the postmedial line. The subterminal and terminal areas are dark brown to black and the fringe is almost entirely black. The hindwing above has a narrow dark gray outer margin. The underside of the hindwing has a conspicuous black slash arising from the costa, about two-thirds of the way to the apex.  Forewing expanse from base to apex in one specimen 11 mm.

The female is more darkly marked. Typically both the basal and medial areas are dark black-brown with the only white a rectangular area encompassing the oribicular and reniform. The oribicular and reniform are usually more pronounced than in the male. The female hindwing is white, but the dark markings along the outer margin are more pronounced than in the male. The discal dot of the hindwing is also more prominent than in the male.

Distribution: (Based on USNM specimens only) Tarache aprica has a wide distribution ranging from southeastern Canada southward throughout most of the United States (except the north central and northwestern states). The species makes it into northern Mexico. There are specimens from northern central American that are probably this specimens. Specimens assigned to this species in Mexico and Central America need to be studied further.

Adults fly between May and September.

Identification Quality: Exellent in North America, but questions still abound about this species in Mexico and Central America.

Larva: The larva has been described by Crumb, 1956, U.S. Dept. Agric. Tech. Bull. 1135:50:

Foodplants: Althaea rosea (Malvaceae) (Crumb, 1956)

Distribution map based on specimens in the USNM

Tarache aprica

Tarache tetragona is consistently a smaller species than aprica. The forewing expanse of tetragona is 7 to 8 mm. from base to apex compared to about 10 mm. in aprica. The male hindwing below of tetragona lacks the dark costal marking found in aprica. The female hindwing of aprica is always white at its base. In contrast the female hindwing of tetragona is uniformly tan-brown. The hindwing of the male of quadriplaga has a consistently dull yellow-brown hindwing and not the white hindwing of aprica. The hindwing of a female quadriplaga is completely tan-brown. In contrast the hindwing of the female aprica hindwing is white with a dark grayish outer margin.

Similar Species

Tarache tetragona male

Tarache tetragona female

Tarache quadriplaga male

Tarache quadriplaga female