Aseptis binotata (Walker, 1865),

Mustelin, Tomas & Crabo, Lars G., 2015, Revision of the genus Aseptis McDunnough (Lepidoptera, Noctuidae, Noctuinae, Xylenini) with a description of two new genera, Paraseptis and Viridiseptis, ZooKeys 527, pp. 57-102: 71

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Aseptis binotata (Walker, 1865)


Taxon classification Animalia Lepidoptera Noctuidae

Aseptis binotata (Walker, 1865)  Figs 25-30, 31-34, 66, 83

Mamestra binotata  Walker, 1865a: 663.

Miana rubiginosa  Walker, 1865a: 675.

Hadena extersa  Walker, 1865b: 728.

Taeniocampa paviae  Strecker, 1874: 94, syn. n.

Hadena curvata  Grote, 1874b: 157, syn. n.

Hadena genitrix  Grote, 1878: 237, syn. n.

Hadena inconspicua  Smith, 1893: 142, nomen nudum

Hadena dilara  Strecker, 1898: 7, syn. n.

Hadena bultata  Smith, 1906: 228, syn. n.

Trachea cara  Barnes & McDunnough, 1912c: 52, syn. n.

Type material.

Mamestra binotata  : Holotype male [BMNH, photograph examined]. Type locality: Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Miana rubiginosa  : Holotype male [BMNH, not examined]. Type locality: Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Hadena extersa  : Holotype male [BMNH, photograph examined]. Type locality: Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Taeniocampa paviae  : Syntypes [Strecker coll., not examined]. Type locality: California. Hadena curvata  : Holotype female [BMNH, photograph examined]. Type locality: Mendocino, California. Hadena genitrix  : Holotype female [BMNH, photograph examined]. Type locality: Nevada. Hadena inconspicua  : Lectotype male designated by Todd (1982) [ USNM, examined]. Type locality: California. Hadena dilara  : Holotype female [ FMNH, photograph examined]. Type locality: Colorado. Hadena bultata  : Lectotype male designated by Todd (1982) [ AMNH, examined]. Type locality: Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Trachea cara  : Syntypes [ USNM, examined]. Type locality: Eureka and Provo, Utah.


Aseptis binotata  is a common medium-sized member of the genus with a wingspan of 32.5 ± 1.3 mm (n=25; range 29.5-35.0 mm). It is the most variable Aseptis  with respect to forewing color and pattern strength. It may be brownish, warm dark brown, pale to medium gray brown, yellowish light brown, or reddish brown depending on locality. The most noticeable marking in dark specimens is the large pale yellowish postreniform patch, which is bisected by the dark postmedial line. The antemedial line is strongly convex laterally and is filled with light tan. Black forewing markings include a series of wedges near the outer margin below the apex, the outlines of the three forewing spots, and in most specimens a short black basal dash. Pale specimens can be washed out or have contrasting dark markings.

There is striking variation in this species, both within populations and over larger distances. Specimens from the coastal region of the Pacific Northwest are fairly uniform with a warm dark brown forewing with distinct maculation (Fig. 25). Southern California specimens of Aseptis binotata  range from nearly as dark (Fig. 26) as Northwestern ones to pale reddish, tan, or pale gray brown with a less contrasting postreniform patch (e.g., Fig. 27). These pale forms were described as Hadena curvata  Grote and Taeniocampa paviae  Strecker. Populations from drier habitats east of the coastal mountains also tend to be pale and more uniform in color, often with gray tones (Figs 28, 29). Populations from near the Rocky Mountains are also variable, mostly dull gray brown (Figs 30, 31, but those from areas of Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico with reddish substrate are yellow tan to orange tan, often with reduced dark patterns (Figs 32-34). These colorful morphs were described as Hadena dilara  Strecker and Hadena bultata  Smith.

The male genitalia of Aseptis binotata  have a valve with a curved upright ampulla, a long downwardly curving digitus, and a weak constriction at the base of the cucullus. The vesica is average in size for the genus with a single long apical cornutus and two small diverticula located at the base and mid-portion. The female bursa is 1.3 × as long as wide, has distinct signa, and a short slightly bent appendix bursae with a crenulate shape.

Most specimens of Aseptis binotata  can be recognized, despite the variation in this species, by their brownish color and pale postreniform patch. They are most likely to be confused with Paraseptis adnixa  , which occurs with it in the Pacific Coast states. The basal dash of Aseptis binotata  is short, not reaching the antemedial line, whereas that of Paraseptis adnixa  extends to the antemedial line. Structurally, the male vesica of Paraseptis adnixa  is coiled and lacks a large apical cornutus, and the female ductus bursae has a sclerotized plate in its posterior wall, unlike those of Aseptis  .

Distribution and biology.

This species is widespread in western North America west of south-central Alberta, Wyoming, and Nebraska. Along the Pacific Coast it occurs from northern Mexico to south-central British Columbia. It can be found from sea level to altitudes over 2000 m in a variety of habitats from dense forest to shrub desert. In the south the flight begins in March at low elevations and in April to July in the mountains. In the north the flight begins later and lasts into August. The larva is green with a white and red lateral stripe. It feeds on numerous woody shrubs, including Ribes  spp. ( Grossulariaceae  ), Oemleria cerasiformis  (Torr. & Gray ex Hook. & Arn.) ( Rosaceae  ), Salix  spp. ( Salicaceae  ), Acer  spp. ( Aceraceae  ), and Symphoricarpos  spp. ( Caprifoliaceae  ) ( Miller and Hammond 2000, Miller and Hammond 2003). Hampson (1908) mentions Adenostoma fasciculatum  Hook. & Arn. ( Rosaceae  ) as a foodplant and Crabtree and Leuschner (2000) found larvae on Prunus emarginata  (Douglas ex Hook.) D. Dietr., Prunus virginiana (L.) var. demissa  (Nutt.) Torr., and Prunus subcordata  Benth. ( Rosaceae  ).


Despite the superficial variability of Aseptis binotata  the male and female genitalia and CO1 barcodes of this species are remarkably uniform. Barcodes from parts of its northern distribution differ by circa 1% from other populations but there is almost no variation elsewhere, including the reddish forms in the Southwest or the variable California populations. We do not advocate the use of subspecies in Aseptis binotata  because the variation is clinal and because of significant variation in color within populations.

The species name genitrix  has often been misspelled as " genetrix  ".














Aseptis binotata (Walker, 1865)

Mustelin, Tomas & Crabo, Lars G. 2015

Taeniocampa paviae

Guenée 1839

Miana rubiginosa

Stephens 1829