Noctuidae - Condicinae - Condicini






Condica cupentia (Cramer)1780

Phalaena Noctua cupentia Cramer, 1780, Uitlandsche Kapellen, 3:103, pl. 252, fig. E.

Phalaena Noctua epopea Cramer, 1780, Uitlandsche Kapellen, 3:144, pl. 272, figs. g,h; index p. 174.

Perigea infelix Guenée, 1852. Histoire Naturelle des Insectes. Species General des Lépidoptéres, 5:229.

Condica palpalis Walker, 1856, List of the Specimens of Lepidopterous Insects in the Collection of the British Museum, 9:240.

Diagnosis: Condica cupentia is a sexually dimorphic tropical and subtropical New World species. The species throughout most of its range has a distinctive appearance, although other neotropical species not found in North America have the same look. The forewing of the male throughout most of the range of the species has extensive white areas contrasting with a dark brown patche in the top half of the basal area and a dark brown area in the upper half of the upper half of the subterminal region, running from the costa to about two-thirds down the postmedial line. There is an extension of this dark patch to the outer margin cutting the terminal area into an upper and lower white patches, the lower patch being continuous with the white of the median area. The reniform spot and orbicular spot are completed obscured by the white in the median area. The dorsum of the thorax in the male is also white. In the female the white is replaced by gray-blue and the contrast between the lighter and darker regions is not nearly as striking.
This general description of the "typical" population is not true for most specimens that will be collected in the United States. Typical cupentia reaches the United States only in southern Texas. There is a very distinctive and superficially very different population of cupentia in the southeastern United States. This population is marked with squares in the distribution map. In this population the forewing and thorax of both males and females is strongly infused with rusty-red scales. The affect is that in males the contrasting white patches of the "typical" population are absent and replaced with dirty gray or rusty-gray patches. In the process the reniform spot and orbicular spot are now clearly apparent. This southeastern population is so distinctive that it may at some time be found to be a true species. However there are no consistent differences in either the male or female genitalia.

Distribution: This distribution of this species includes most of the tropical and subtropical regions of the New World. In the United States the "typical" population has been collected only in extreme southern Texas. The isolated distinctive population of the southeastern United States occurs throughout most of Florida. It has also been collected in South Carolina and Mississippi and probably occurs throughout the southeastern United States. In the males of this southeastern population there is variation in the amount of reddish-suffusion and in consequence variability in the contrast between the lighter and dark portions of the wing.

In the southeastern United States population of cupentia adults have been collected primarily in the spring and the fall.

Identification Quality: Excellent

Larva: Unknown

Foodplants: There is a single specimen in the USNM from near Havana, Cuba reared from Pluchia odorata (Asteraceae). In keeping with the genera tendencies in the genus, cupentia probably feeds on a variety of herbaceous composites.


Condica cupentia


Completely accurate separation of females of confederata and cupentia depends on examining the female genitalia. However the majority of specimens can be distinguished by the color of the forewing in the median area. In confederata the median area along the inner margin of the forewing has scattered red-brown scales. In contrast the inner margin of the forewing of cupentia lacks these scattered dark red-brown scales. In the female genitalia there is a distinct difference in the shape of the ostium. In confederata the ostium is quadrate with a v-shaped caudal opening. In contrast the ostium of cupentia is laterally elongate with a very irregular caudal margin. The shape of the ostium can sometimes, but not always, be seen by brushing away the scales from the tip of the abdomen.


Because of the distinct population of cupentia in the southeastern United States versus the more normal populations found in southern Texas, the discussion is divided by range.

Southern Texas - In cupentia the reniform spot and orbicular spot of the forewing are indistinct and obliterated by the white median area. The claviform spot is absent or only vaguely indicated. In the male genitalia the clasper of the right valve consists of a chitinous plate with with an outward thick hook. The basal process of the sacculus is a sharp projection. The forewing of confederata from this region has a distinct reniform spot and oribicular, and they are not obliterated by the white of the median area. A claviform spot is present. The clasper of the right valve is a strong, triangular projection without an associated chitinous plate. The basal process of the sacculus is broad, not elongate or pointed.

Southeastern United States - The white of the median area and subapical blotch are tinged with dull red-brown in cupentia, but is not in confederata. The claviform spot is usually present in cupentia, but is smaller than in confederata where it is strong, black, and constrasts with the the white of the median area. The male genitalic differences discussed above, of course, also hold true.

Similar Species

Condica confederata male

Condica confederata female

Condica cupentia female ostium

Condica confederata female ostium