Taxonomic Notes on North American Noctuidae

Taxonomic notes on North American Noctuidae 1
Impact of "Noctuae Europae 4, Hadeninae 1"
J Donald Lafontaine and James T Troubridge
Canadian National Collection of Insects and Arachnids
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Ottawa, ON K1A 0C6
E-mail: "" and ""

The recently published book "Noctuidae Europaeae 4, Hadeninae 1" by H Hacker, L Ronkay and M Hreblay (2002) treats the European fauna of the subfamily Hadeninae, tribes Hadenini and Mythimnini. This is equivalent to most of the subfamily Hadeninae in the "Moths of American North of Mexico" (Hodges et al., 1983) check list.

The following points of classification in Hacker et al. (2002) have a direct impact on the classification of the tribe in North America:

1. The genus Discestra Hampson, 1905 is placed in synonymy with Hadula Staudinger, 1889. There are currently 15 North American species assigned to Discestra.

2. "Anarta" melanopa (Thunberg) is treated as a holartic species (as it is in the MONA list) and is transferred to the genus Hadula.

3. The "Anarta" cordigera (Grote) group (which includes A. luteola (Grote & Robinson) and A. macrostigma Lafontaine & Mikkola in North America, as well asA. carbonaria Christoph in Asia) is in the genus Coranarta Hacker, 1998.

4. The genus Anartomima Boursin, 1952, which includes A. secedens (Walker) in North America and Eurasia, is synonymized with Lasionycta Aurivillius, 1892.

5. The genus Mythimna Ochsenheimer, 1816, which had previously been treated as asingle genus (Mythimna) in Eurasia and as three genera (Aletia Hübner, [1821], Pseudaletia Franclemont, 1951, and Leucania Ochsenheimer, 1816 in North America) is treated as two genera with Aletia relegated to the synonymy of Mythimna (sensu stricto), Pseudaletia treated as a subgenus of Mythimna, and Leucania treated as a valid genus.

We have reviewed these potential taxonomic changes to the North American fauna, examined genitalic preparations of the pertinent North American and Eurasian species (including the various genotypes) and propose the following North American usage:

1. We propose maintaining the genus Discestra for the present time. The European revision did not include North American genera and the genus Trichoclea Grote, 1883 is congeneric with Hadula Staudinger, 1889 and is an older name and would take precedence over it. Further the genus Anarta Ochsenheimer, 1816 (Type-species: Phalaena myrtilli Linnaeus), although superficially very different from Hadula and Trichoclea, is structurally close and may be an appropriate generic name for the group. Since this group of genera is currently being revised by Tim McCabe as a "Moths of North America" fascicle we prefer to maintain the status quo in North American until his revision is published.

2. For the same reasons as stated above under point 1 we leave melanopa (Thunberg) in the genus Anarta until McCabe's revision is published.

We do not agree that "A." melanopa should be treated as a holarctic species. We have examined genitalia preparations from various areas in the range of melanopa (e.g. Finland, Austria, Switzerland, Russia (Altai Mountains) and Japan) and compared them with genitalia preparations from North America (Yukon, British Columbia, New Hampshire and Labrador) and find numerous consistent differences that we feel warrant recognizing them as separate species. In particular the sclerite than extends from the digital plate at the costal angle of the valve antero ventrally to the ventral margin of the sacculus has a strong wave in the sclerite that forms a W-shape where it fuses to the ventral margin of the saccular extension in melanopa but is evenly curved in "Anarta" nigrolunata Packard, revised status; also the sacculus in nigrolunata is much smaller than that of melanopa, the saccular extension is narrower, not extending down to the ventral margin of the valve as in melanopa, and the digital plate at the costal angle of the valve extends about of the distance across the valvebut extends more than ½ way across the valve in melanopa (compare figures 1-2). Smaller but possibly significant differences occur in the genital structures between populations in Fennoscandia, the Alps, and Japan that suggest that a reassessment of the status of melanopa in the Old World is needed.

3. The "Anarta" cordigera (Grote) group includes five species (three palaearctic and two North American). These were transferred to the genus Coranarta by Hacker (1998) and discussed in detail by Yela (2002). This group of species is structurally very distinctive from Anarta Ochsenheimer, 1816 (Type-species: Phalaena myrtilli Linnaeus) and we recognize Coranarta as the valid generic name for Coranarta luteola (Grote & Robinson) and C. macrostigma (Lafontaine & Mikkola) in North America.

4. The genus Anartomima Boursin is structurally within the variation exhibited by other Old World species of Lasionycta. Various lineages within the North American genera Lacinipolia McDunnough, 1937, and Trichocerapoda Benjamin, 1932, are closely related to Lasionycta and these genera will also require rearrangement when the holarctic Lasionycta generic grouping is revised.

5. The genus Mythimna Ochsenheimer is structurally so different from Leucania that there has been little support in North America for including the whole complex in Mythimna. Aletia is structurally very close to Mythimna and there is no justification for maintaining Aletia; Franclemont (1951) restricted Mythimna to turca (Linnaeus) and its immediate relatives based mainly on the stout habitus of this species group when compared to those that he included in Aletia. Pseudaletia is distinctive mainly because of the enlarged sacculus but is like Mythimna in most other features. Treating it as a subgenus of Mythimna seems an appropriate compromise, especially considering the variation seen among the various Old World lineages of Mythimna. Accordingly we transfer the North America species of Aletia and Pseudaletia to Mythimna as:

Mythimna (Mythimna) oxygala (Grote), new comb.

Mythimna (Mythimna) yukonensis (Hampson), new comb.

Mythimna (Pseudaletia) unipuncta (Haworth)

Mythimna (Pseudaletia) sequax (Franclemont), new comb.


Franclemont J G. 1951. The species of the Leucania unipuncta group, with a discussion of the generic names for the various segregates of Leucania in North America. Entomological Society of Washington, 53: 57-85.

Hacker H. 1998. Revision der Gattung Hadula Staudinger, 1889 (= Discestra Hampson, 1905; = Aglossestra Hampson, 1905; (= Cardiestra Boursin, 1963); Anartomorpha Alpéraky,1892, Trichanarta Hampson, 1895, Anarta Ochsenheimer, 1816 und Cardepia Hampson,1905) mit Beschreibung einer neuen Gattung Hadumorpha gen. n. (Lepidoptera, Noctuidae). Esperiana, 6: 577-843.

Hacker H, L Ronkay and M Hreblay. 2002. Noctuidae Europaeae. Vol. 5, Hadeninae I. 1-419. Sorø: Entomological Press.

Hodges R W. et al. 1983. Check List of the Lepidoptera of America North of Mexico. xxiv + 284 pp. London: E. W. Classey Ltd. and The Wedge Entomological Research Foundation

Yela J L. 2002. The internal genitalia as a taxonomic tool: description of the relict endemic moth, Coranarta restricta n. sp. from the Iberian Peninsula (Lepidoptera, Noctuidae). Entomologica Fennica, 13: 1-12.