Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Wingspan 4.6 cm. Forewing is black mottled with gray, markings obscure, discal spots large, the submarginal line sharply dentate; abdomen with small black mid-dorsal hair tufts. This noctuid is widely distributed in ponderosa pine forests east of the Cascade Mountains. Moths fly in late spring and early summer. Caterpillars feed on the foliage of bitterbrush (Purshia tridentata).
Similar species: Papestra cristifera is smaller, forewing with markings more strongly outlined in white, widely distributed in high-elevation conifer forests; Papestra quadrata is smaller, forewing with a broad pale gray postmedian band, common in the Rocky Mountain region; Melanchra adjuncta (Noctuidae) forewing is black with a large white reniform spot and white submarginal border, widely distributed in wet conifer forests; Melanchra pulverulenta forewing is black with a white subanal spot, widely distributed in wet conifer forests; Lacanobia lutra forewing is black with pale red to pink reniform and subanal spots, widely distributed in wet conifer forests; species of Platypolia fly in fall.