Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Wingspan 3.9 cm. Forewing is gray to black with a pale gray to white orbicular spot and the submarginal line strongly dentate. Populations west of the Cascade Mountains have a contrasting white postmedian band, while populations east of the Cascade Mountains are uniformly gray. This noctuid is common and widely distributed in western North America. Moths fly in late spring. Caterpillars feed on the foliage of Aster.
Similar species: eight species in this genus are very similar in appearance and each with the caterpillar feeding mostly on flowering trees and shrubs and a few feed on herbs; Lacanobia tacoma forewing with a purple-lavender postmedian band, occurs in the Pacific West; Lacanobia dodii forewing with a purple-lavender postmedian band, occurs in the Rocky Mountains; Lacanobia lilacina forewing is dark or pale lavender and lacks the dentate submarginal line; Lacanobia grandis is larger, forewing with a pale white postmedian band and black basal and median bars, limited to the Cascade Mountains; Lacanobia subjuncta forewing with a brown postmedian band, widely distributed, sometimes a pest in fruit orchards; Lacanobia nevadae forewing is dark red-brown with a thin white submarginal line, occurs in ponderosa pine forests; Lacanobia radix forewing is uniformly pale gray or red-brown with a small black basal dash, occurs in cool wet conifer forests.