Noctuidae - Acontiinae

[Systematics on the Fly]


The subfamily “Acontiinae” has a checkered history. It was early on treated as a receptacle for a large number of unrelated small genera of the Noctuidae. The family as treated in the last check list of the moths of North America (Franclemont and Todd 1983) included the tribes Acontiini, Eustrotiini, Bagisarini, Cydosiini, and Eublemmini. These tribes have since been scattered among the family and raised to subfamily rank. Recently in the paper J. Donald Lafontaine & Robert W. Poole, 2010, Review of the New World Genera of the Acontiinae (Noctuidae), ZooKeys 39: 137–160. (pdf, 3.79 mb) many changes have been made to the generic and specific names applied to the North American species of the subfamily.


Plate 1 - Spragueia 1

Plate 2 - Spragueia 2

Plate 3 - Ponometia 1

Plate 4 - Ponometia 2

Plate 5 - Ponometia 3

Plate 6 - Ponometia 4

Plate 7 - Acontia 1

Plate 8 - Tarache 1

Plate 9 - Tarache 2

Plate 10 - Tarache 3, Eusceptis, Pseudalypia

Plate 11 - Tarache 4


The Genera








Checklist of the North American Species of the Acontiinae

Some Characteristics of the Acontiinae

1. Small by the usual standards of the Noctuidae. Forewing length from base to apex in the general range of 8 to 20 mm. Adults sometimes (but hardly always) resemble bird dropings when perched on leaves or other surfaces.

2. Hindwing venation typical for the trifinae Noctuidae.

3. Tympanic region with a large, prominent alula (a membranous flap arising from the the upper, rear region of the tympanic membrane. Hood small or absent.

4. Male genitalia with hair tufts on the scaphium.

5. Clasper of the valve arising from the bottom margin of the valve and, although variable is usually oriented perpendicular to the long axis of the valve.

Tarache aprica

6. Larva with prolegs absent on segments 1-4.

7. Spinneret highly reduced or absent.

8. Anal shield with a large anal fork.

9. Larval abdominal segment 1 with 2 SV setae (this character will separate Acontiinae larvae from larvae in the subfamily Eustrotiinae).