Acronicta dolli (Barnes and McDunnough, 1918)
Doll's Dagger Moth
NatureServe Global Rank: G3G4
Virginia State Rank: S1S3
VA DGIF Tier: III
Federal Legal Status: None
Virginia Legal Status: None
Description: Doll's Dagger Moth is a medium sized (37 mm) spring moth with medium to dark gray forewings with distinct white lines. The hindwings are whitish with darker frosting terminally, and they have a very hairy body. There is a postmedian zigzag line, a whitish patch between the orbicular and reniform spots, and whitish coloring terminally.
Similar species: Lanceolate (Pointed) Dagger Moth (Acronicta lanceolaria) is a similar species, but is distinguished by its long, pointed wings.
North American Range: The Doll's Dagger Moth has three disjunct range areas: the Appalachian region from New York to Georgia, with records in Rockbridge County in Virginia; the Great Lakes Region in parts of Michigan and Wisconsin; and the New Jersey Pine Barrens.
VA Observations by Locality: Rockbridge
Flight season and broods: Adults of this species fly briefly in April or early March in most places. It is single brooded.
Habitat and Food Plants: The habitat ranges from ordinary mountain oak forest to dwarf pine plains. In Virginia, larvae were found in dry oak woodland. The larval food plants include oaks and various heaths.
Behavior and Ecology: It seems to prefer open oak woodlands and pine barrens, typically with blueberry in the understory. Adults are hard to collect, but will come to blacklights in good habitat if the temperatures have exceeded 32°C (90°F). Larvae are encountered more often than adults. Adults are most frequently seen on unseasonably warm nights. Young larvae are often found on the tops of leaves and their bright coloration indicates a possible unpalatable trait.
Population trend and potential threats: The short-term trends are uncertain, but are not declining precipitously except in regions of heavy Gypsy Moth spraying. Gypsy Moth outbreaks are the main threat to this species since the entire population of early to middle-instar larvae would be exposed in a single application of pesticides used in suppression programs.
Management practices: Unburned refugia are needed during prescribed burns to protect the Doll's Dagger Moth. Selective logging or clear-cutting with natural regeneration may benefit this species.
References: Bug Guide. 2003. Iowa State University Entomology. At: www.bugguide.net/node/view/57316. Accessed: 19Apr2012
Moth Photographers Group at the Mississippi Entomological Museum at Mississippi State University. Web application at: http://mothphotographersgroup.msstate.edu/large_map.php?hodges=9277 Accessed: 04/09/2013
NatureServe. 2011. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available http://www.natureserve.org/explorer. (Accessed: 10Apr2012).
Schweitzer, D. F., M. C. Minno, and D. L. Wagner. 2011. Rare, Declining and Poorly Known Butterflies and Moths (Lepidoptera) of Forests and Woodlands in the Eastern United States. USDA Forest Service, Morgantown, WV, FHTET-2011-01. 517 pp.
Wagner, D. L., D.F. Schweitzer, J.B. Sullivan, and R.C. Reardon. 2011. Owlet Caterpillars of Eastern North America. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ. 576pp.
Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Natural Heritage Program, 600 E. Main St., 24th Floor, Richmond, VA 23219
This atlas was compiled
by the VA Natural Heritage Program with funds provided by the VA Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries through a state wildlife grant
from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Last Modified: Tuesday, 24 January 2017, 10:12:03 PM