Family Arctiidae: Tiger/Footman/Wasp moths

Diagnosis: Hw with Sc+R and S fused for about 1/3 length of discal cell, occasionally completely fused, or only fused for 1/4 length of cell; almost always with either fore coxae, ptagiae, or abdomen orange or red and contrasting with color of dorsal thorax; meta-thoracic tympanum normally present and open posterio-dorsad; meta-thorax with tymbal organs appearing as a striated band on katepisternum (sclerite immediately above the metacoxa anteriorly.  So far as known, females possess dorsal eversible pheromone glands on the last abdominal segment.

Diversity: Worldwide 11,000 species in three subfamilies; North America at least 250 species; 66 are known from the Dakotas.

Checklist numbers: 8033- 8040, 8043- 8101, 8104.1- 8288.

Biology: Larvae on forbs and grasses, a few species on woody plants, some lichenophiles; larvae usually ‘fuzzy,’ only one tribe has markedly elongate 'tussocks' in addition to verucae and so resembles larvae of the Lymantriidae and a few Noctuidae: Acronictinae.  Adults normally aposematically colored and distasteful to vertebrate predators. One subfamily is comprised of wasp mimics.

Notes:  According to Kitching and Rawlins (1999), the subfamilial and tribal classification as presented in Hodges et al (1983) for North America, in part represents some paraphyletic (un-natural) groups and clusters of genera rather than a distinct phyletic group in every case.  Consequently, these authors would demote the traditional subfamilies Pericopinae and Ctenuchinae to tribes.  Under this scheme, the resident North Dakota species then fall into two subfamilies: Lithosiinae and Arctiinae.

See also:

List of North Dakota Arctiidae

Key to the Arctiidae of the Dakotas.

Specimen data for arctiid images on this web site.





Further reading:

Balsbaugh, Edward U. Jr. and Geralf M. Fauske. 1991. Possible Müllerian mimicry of Galerucinae with Criocerinae (both Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) and with Maepha opulenta (Lepidoptera: Arctiidae). Coleop. Bull. 45(3): 227- 231.

Donahue, Julian P. and John H. Newman. 1966. The genus Phragmatobia in North America with the description of a new species (Lepidoptera: Arctiidae). Michian Entomol. 1(2): 35-74.

Ferguson, Douglas C.  1984.  Two new generic names for groups of Holarctic and Palearctic Arctiidae (Lepidoptera: Arctiidae).  Proc. Entomol. Soc. Washington.  86(2): 452-459.

Ferguson, Douglas C. 1985. Contributions toward reclassification of the world genera of the tribe Arctiini, Part 1. Introduction and a review of the Neoarctia– Grammia group (Lepidoptera: Arctiidae: Arctiinae). Entomography. 3: 181-275.

Ferguson, Douglas C.  1991.  The identity of Arctia obliterata Stretch (Lepidoptera: Arctiidae).  Proc. Entomol. Soc. Washington.  93(4): 828- 833.

Ferguson, Douglas C., Paul A. Opler, Michael J. Smith, Julian P. Donahue. 2000. Distribution of Arctiidae of western North America, Part 1. Text, maps, and references. in Moths of western North America. Moths of western North America, 3. Arctiidae. Contrib. C. P. Gillette Mus. Colorado State Univer. Ft. Collins. 171 pp.

Forbes, William T. M. 1960. Family 50. Arctiidae, pp. 12- 50, and Family 53 Euchromiidae, pp. 56- 58 in Ibid. The Lepidoptera of New York and neighboring states. Part IV, Agaristidae through Nymphalidae including the butterflies. Cornell Agric. Expt. Stat. Mem. 371: 188 pp.

Forbes, William T. M. and J. G. Franclemont. 1957. The striated band (Lepidoptera, cheifly Arctiidae). Lep. News 11: 147- 150.

Jacobson, Nancy L. and Susan J. Weller.  2002.  A cladistic study of the Arctiidae (Lepidoptera) by using characters of immatures and adults.  Thomas Say Publications in Entomology  Monograph.  97 pp. 

Kitching, Ian J. and John E. Rawlins. Chapter 19 The Noctuoidea, pp. 355- 401 in Kristensen, Neils P. ed. 1999. Lepidoptera, moths and butterflies. Part 35, Vol. 1 in Handbook of Zoology. Maximilian Fischer ed. Walter de Gryter, New York. 491 pp.

Knowlton, Carroll B.  1967.  A revision of the species of Cisthene known to occur north of the Mexican border (Lepidoptera: Arctiidae: Lithosiinae).  Trans. Amer. Entomol. Soc.  93: 41- 100. 

Lafontaine, J. Donald and John G. Franclemont. 1982. Classification and life history of Acsala anomala (Arctiidae: Lithosiinae). J. Lepid. Soc. 36(3): 212- 226.

Lafontaine, J. Donald and J. T. Troubridge.  2000.  Two new species of Arctiidae (Lepidoptera) from the Yukon territory, Canada.  J. Entomol. Soc. British Columbia.  96: 89- 93.

Scoble, Malcom J. 1992. The Higher Ditrysia, Chapter 12, pp. 290- 341 in The Lepidoptera: form, function, and diversity. Oxford Univ. press. 1982. 404 pp.

Stretch, Richard H. 1906. Heterocera Americana. J. N.Y. Entomol. Soc. 14: 117- 124 + 12 black-&-white plates.




Last updated: 07/26/04

Gerald M. Fauske
Research Specialist
202 Hultz Hall
Fargo, ND 58105

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