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Macromoths of Northwest Forests and Woodlands

Orthosia pacifica [Noctuidae]

JPG-Orthosia pacifica

Wingspan 3.9 cm. Forewing is mottled yellow-brown with a narrow dark reniform spot; hindwing is pale brown. This noctuid is common in dry forests in the Pacific West. Moths fly in early spring. Caterpillars are generalist feeders on the foliage of flowering trees and shrubs such as madrone (Arbutus menziesii), manzanita (Arctostaphylos), oak (Quercus), and snowbrush (Ceanothus velutinus).

Similar species: Orthosia terminata forewing is dark gray with obscure markings and a pale submarginal band, hindwing black, moths fly in spring; Orthosia arthrolita forewing is falcate and yellow-gray with a black discal spot, hindwing black, moths fly in fall; Orthosia behrensiana forewing may vary in a mix of colors from pale yellow, gray, and red with a black bar at the reniform spot, hindwing white, moths fly in spring; Orthosia hibisci forewing with large round discal spots; Orthosia revicta forewing is pale gray-lavender with red shades and a red submarginal line, widely distributed in wet conifer forests, caterpillars feed on the foliage of flowering trees and shrubs, particularly cherry (Prunus).

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