The very gray Fingered Dagger has few dark lines or bold markings compared to other Daggers, which can make it difficult to identify.
Most Dagger moths have long, black lines that cut down the wings. This species lacks them save one small set by the bottom, inner wings. A small dark ring sits near the center of each gray forewing and may prove more helpful in identifying it. A faint band at the bottom of the wings may show a scalloped line that crosses, but the lack of prominent markings gives this moth an almost plain gray appearance. The hairy gray thorax is dense, but unmarked.
Caterpillars feed on the leaves of alder, birch, poplar, and willow trees. The hairy black body has multiple tufts of orange hairs on top. Long sets of black lashes extend beyond the orange hairs near the head and the rear end. White, wispy hairs grow out of the sides of the body and face.
Scientific Name: Acronicta dactylina
Other Name(s): Alder Dagger Moth
Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 24mm to 29mm (0.94in to 1.13in)
Colors: gray; black
Descriptors: powdery; small ring spot; black checkered edge; furry; thick; flying
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.
Butterfly and Moth Anatomy
Antennae: Butterflies and Moths have a pair of antennae on the head used as sensors.
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and proboscis.
Thorax: Home to the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
Abdomen: Contains vital internal organs such as the heart(s) and reproduction facilities.
Forewing: The upper, forward wing pair used for flying.
Hindwing: The lower, rearward wing pair used for flying.
NOTE: Butterflies and Moths are part of the Lepidopteran order as they share many similarities.