How To Use This Site
The threefold purpose of this website is: 1) to provide an
identification guide to the moths of North Dakota and in so doing, 2) to
provide a pictorial catalogue of species, each page is then 3) to serve as
a repository of distributional information on North Dakota moths.
Moths of North Dakota is intended to be useful at both professional
and non-professional levels of interest; the photo gallery provides quick access
to myriads of pictures of moths and their larvae, the family guide provides
brief information on the major groups of moths commonly found in the state,
while the identification keys will help differentiate between closely similar
species. A pictorial glossary has been provided since there is no possible way
to spare the terminology when dealing with such an array of species. It should
be noted however, that this is an evolving long term project (there are as of
this writing about 1,400 species of moths known from the Dakotas) and new pages
will be constantly added and older pages updated as more information becomes
Pictures of adult moths and larvae can be found here. One can either
glance through all the illustrations of adult moths and larvae, or use the species list to look-up a
At this site, larvae can only be 'picture matched’ as a complete
(equally as large second web site) would be required for larval
identification. Larvae are best identified by rearing out the adult moth
as a great deal of life history information remains to be discovered..
These are one page synopses for each moth family (plus literature)
known to occur in North Dakota, each page contains one or more
representative pictures, identification characters, a statement on
diversity, general life history information and important literature. This
facility will also grow as the website itself develops.
Here can be found keys to identify difficult groups or, simply a means
to narrow the number of choices upon the users return to the photo
gallery. The main page includes a short description of keys and
their use and the overall identification
key to superfamilies of Lepidoptera (Order of moths and butterflies) is
highly recommended to narrow the initial search. In this key, the North Dakotan families and major subfamilies
are characterized under each superfamily. Also on the main page are
links to keys for groups of similar species, genera, or subfamilies. This portion will expand as the site develops.
Six pages illustrate the vocabulary used under the identification
headings. They precede from most general anatomy, wing pattern elements
(simple and detailed), to detailed anatomy, ancestral wing venation, and
derived wing venation. A textual glossary is also present. As the site
develops, at least two additional illustrative pages will be added.
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