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Afflicted Dagger Moth Caterpillar

Stable and ubiquitous oak trees help the Afflicted Dagger Moth produce two broods of caterpillars each year.


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Image Credit: Paul B.
Full-sized image of the Afflicted Dagger Moth Caterpillar Thumbnail image of the Afflicted Dagger Moth Caterpillar
Image Credit: Paul B.
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Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Noctuidae
Genus: Acronicta
Species: afflicta

Caterpillar Details

The Afflicted Dagger Moth Caterpillar becomes the Afflicted Dagger Moth.

0.0 " to 1.7 " (1mm to 45mm)

orange body, brown orange head, thin black dorsal stripe on back, sparse white hairs, bulging big head
The youngest form of an Afflicted Dagger Moth caterpillar has a pale orange body and slightly oversized head. Branching clusters of bristly hairs cover the body. It is more common to see it when it is a larger, plumper orange-brown with a brown-black head. At that stage, fine, short white bristles stick out of its face and sides. This caterpillar might also have a ghostly white body instead, with a pale purple head. On top of each body segment, a pair of black hair-like setae grow upward, one on either side of the midline like antennae. These pairs of setae are helpful in identifying it.

Afflicted Dagger Moth caterpillars feed on both red and white varieties of oak leaves. It is unclear why its common name is 'Afflicted'. It does not seem to be under threat, nor does it seem to be a significant burden on its host tree.©CaterpillarIdentification.org

Afflicted Dagger Moth Caterpillar Diet

red and white oak

Territorial Areas

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; Alberta; British Columbia; Manitoba; New Brunswick; Newfoundland and Labrador; Nova Scotia; Ontario; Prince Edward Island; Quebec; Saskatchewan; Mexico.
Prince Edward Is.  
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The map above showcases (in blue) the states and territories of North America where the Afflicted Dagger Moth Caterpillar may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data can be useful in seeing concentrations of a particular species over the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some species 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.*NOTE: States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Afflicted Dagger Moth Caterpillar. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

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