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Fingered Dagger (Acronicta dactylina)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Fingered Dagger.




The very gray Fingered Dagger has few dark lines or bold markings compared to other Daggers, which can make it difficult to identify.



 Updated: 1/22/2020; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.InsectIdentification.org




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.


General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon
Hairy insect icon
Patterned insect icon


Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Noctuidae [ View More ]
          Genus: Acronicta [ View More ]
            Species: dactylina
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Descriptors
Scientific Name: Acronicta dactylina
Other Name(s): Alder Dagger Moth
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 24mm to 29mm (0.94in to 1.13in)
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: gray; black
Descriptors: powdery; small ring spot; black checkered edge; furry; thick; flying
Relative Size Comparison
Lo: 24mm | Hi: 29mm
Territorial Reach (A-to-Z)
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
Canadian National Flag Graphic
Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
Mexican National Flag Graphic
Mexico
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.
Territorial Map
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
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State of New Mexico graphic
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State of North Carolina graphic
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State of South Carolina graphic
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State of Tennessee graphic
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State of Utah graphic
State of Virginia graphic
State of Washington graphic
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State of Wyoming graphic
Canadian territory of Alberta graphic
Canadian territory of British Columbia graphic
Canadian territory of Manitoba graphic
Canadian territory of New Brunswick graphic
Canadian territory of Newfoundland and Labrador graphic
Canadian territory of Ontario graphic
Canadian territory of Quebec graphic
Canadian territory of Saskatchewan graphic
Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic


Butterfly and Moth Anatomy
Graphic showing basic anatomy of a common North American butterfly and moth insect
1
Antennae: Butterflies and Moths have a pair of antennae on the head used for sensing.
2
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and proboscis.
3
Thorax: Home to the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
4
Abdomen: Contains vital internal organs such as the heart(s) and reproduction facilities.
5
Forewing: The upper, forward wing pair used for flying.
6
Hindwing: The lower, rearward wing pair used for flying.
NOTE: Butterflies and Moths are part of the Lepidopteran order as they share many similarities.