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Family Notodontidae: Prominents

Diagnosis: fw venation trifid; f/hw with differing patterns, fw pattern often simplified or modified into lateral shades or fasciae; meta-thoracic tympanum present (often hidden in the vestiture) and oriented ventrad.

Diversity: Worldwide there are nine subfamilies and 3,500 species; North America has five subfamilies and 137 species; 41 species occur in North Dakota.

Checklist numbers: 7895- 8032.

Biology: Larvae are arboreal foliage feeders, some Old World species build communal nests and larvae travel in lines to and from feeding sites– processionary caterpillars. The family name derives from the tuft of scales found midway along the inner margin of the fw in the nominate subfamily; the tuft is an upward ‘tooth’ when the wings are folded.  A few economic species: Yellow-necked caterpillar, Unicorn caterpillar, Variable oak leaf caterpillar etc.

Key to the Notodontidae of the Dakotas.

Specimen data for Notodontidae imaged on this website.



Further reading:

Donahue, Julian P. 1993. The distribution of three broadly sympatric species of Symerista moths (Lepidoptera: Notodontidae) in the Great Lakes and midwest regions of the United States. Great Lakes Entomol. 26(3): 161-171.

Forbes, William T. M. Family 46. Notodontidae, pp. 203- 237 in, Ibid. 1923. Lepidoptera of New York and neighboring states. Part II. Geometridae, Notodontidae, Sphingidae, Lymantriidae. Cornell Agric. Exp. Sta. Mem. 274: 263 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.

Miller, James S. 1991. Cladistics and classification of the Notodontidae (Lepidoptera: Noctuoidea) based on larval and adult morphology. Amer. Mus. Natr. Hist. Bull. 204: 230 pp.

__________. 1992. Host-plant associations among Prominent moths. BioSci. 42(1): 50- 57.

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

Wagner, David L.  2005.  Prominents, Notodontidae, pp. 279- 320 in Caterpillars of eastern North America.  Princeton Univ, press, Princeton, NJ.. 512 pp..






Last updated: 04/14/09

Good web citizens cite their sources. 

This resource is to be cited as: Fauske, G. M.  [date of cited page]. cited page
 in Moths of North Dakota: an online identification guide. 
< http://www.ndsu.nodak.edu/ndsu/ndmoths/ >

Dr. Gerald M. Fauske
collection manager, NDSIRC
research specialist, NDSU
216 Hultz Hall
Fargo, ND 58105
E-Mail: Gerald.Fauske@ndsu.edu

Published by the Department of Entomology 

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