Noctuidae: Acronictinae

2283 (ABH73.037) Dark Dagger Acronicta tridens, ([Denis & Schiffermüller], 1775)


 Photo © Barry Dickerson
Dark Dagger
 Photo © Barry Dickerson
Needingworth, Huntingdonshire
Needingworth, Huntingdonshire
 Photo © Ian Fisher
 Photo © Brian Stone

General Information

This species cannot be readily distinguished as an adult from Grey Dagger except by examination of the genitalia. The larvae are, however, quite different.


Pupates in a crevice in tree bark.

Overwinters as Overwinters as a pupa.
Both sexes come to light.

Forewing length: 17-20mm.
Foodplant(s): hawthorns (Crataegus spp.), Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa), Rosaceae (Rosaceae spp.), cotoneasters (Cotoneaster spp.), Goat Willow (Salix caprea), oaks (Quercus spp.), broadleaved trees, broadleaved shrubs
Flying: One/two generations, mid May-July and September-October
UK Presence: Resident
National status: Common


Woodland, fens and gardens.

Regional Information

Recorded in 48 (17.8%) of the 270 2km squares of Huntingdonshire.

Last recorded in June 2023

Recorded date range (Adult): 21 May to 14 August

Recorded date range (Larva/Leafmine): 06 July to 17 September

Similar Species
ex. larva, Little Staughton
ex. larva, Little Staughton
 Photo © Peter Bissell
Grey Dagger Acronicta psi

Larva Type:
With lumps, bumps or horn(s)
Black, white, orange, red
No. of Proleg Pairs: