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Afflicted Dagger Moth (Acronticta afflicta)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Afflicted Dagger Moth

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Image Credit: Paul B.
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Image Credit: Paul B.
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Like many other dark Daggers, the Afflicted Dagger Moth has a round spot on each wing, which may be helpful in telling it apart.

Updated: 01/26/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
A woodland moth, the gray Afflicted Dagger is so dark on areas of its wings that the black dashes, or daggers, on them are near impossible to see. A white or pale gray orb-shaped spot sits on the center of each wing. Mottled coloring covers the moth, much like its close relatives, so differentiating between them can be a challenge. Hindwings are light gray or whitish with few markings on them.

The caterpillar feeds on all sorts of oaks. It has an orange body and a thin, black line running down its 'back'. The orange-brown head is sparsely covered with wispy, white hairs, just like the rest of the body. It may appear too big for the body. Two broods can be produced each year.

The Afflicted Dagger is not actually afflicted with anything. It is a nocturnal moth and comes to light at night. Look for them in forests, woodlands, and even parks or gardens where oak trees are growing.

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


Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Noctuidae
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          Genus: Acronticta
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            Species: afflicta
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Acronticta afflicta
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 35mm to 38mm (1.37" to 1.49")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: gray; black; white
Descriptors: white round spot; dark wings; dark dashes; flying

Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 35mm (1.4in) and 38mm (1.5in)
Lo: 35mm
Md: 36.5mm
Hi: 38mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Afflicted Dagger Moth may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Afflicted Dagger Moth. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.


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