Butterflies and Moths of Southern Vancouver Island--Jeremy B. Tatum



Autographa californica



I have found and reared the caterpillar of Autographa californica on several foodplants, including: Lactuca muralis, Lapsana communis, Hypochaeris radicata (Asteraceae); Urtica dioica (Urticaceae); Borago officinalis, Symphytum officinale (Boraginaceae); Eschscholtzia californica (Papaveraceae). It will also accept in captivity garden lettuce Lactuca sativa, but I recommend this only in emergencies on account of its high water content. The caterpillar is called in agricultural circles the "Alfalfa Looper". Some caterpillars (but apparently not all) have a black "smile" - i.e. a rather conspicuous black streak on the side of the head. The adult moth is migratory and is often seen flying during daylight hours.

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