Moths of North Carolina
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42 NC Records

Feralia jocosa (Guenée, 1852) - Joker Moth



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Taxonomy
Superfamily: Noctuoidea Family: NoctuidaeSubfamily: AmphipyrinaeTribe: PsaphidiniP3 Number: 931561.00 MONA Number: 10005.00
Comments: An isolated genus with 7 species worldwide, 1 palearctic, the other 6 nearctic, with 3 occurring in North Carolina.
Species Status: Bar codes of F. jocosa break up into two separate groups in Canada but only one of those groups appears to represent our populations. Melanic forms are found in both. If in fact there are two species as the barcodes indicate, we have no idea to which the name jocosa applies.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984); Beadle and Leckie (2012)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIFTechnical Description, Adults: Forbes (1954); Poole (1995)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Maier et al. (2011); Wagner et al. (2011)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: This spectacularly patterned moth is perfectly camouflaged for life among the mossy evergreens and lichens of our mountain forests. It is similar to Feralia major and both species have normal green and black, melanic forms, although so far all of ours are the normal green form. Jocosa has darker hindwings, which are uniformly dark fuscous in jocosa but pale green along the margins in freshly caught major. Green forms of major (lacking the dark shading) are very similar in pattern and the color of the hindwings must be used to tell them apart. Most F. major we have seen are of the dark form. The dark form of jocosa has not yet been recorded in North Carolina, but we do have a greenish tan morph from the mountains that appears late in the season. Feralia comstocki normally flies later than both jocosa and major in the mountains, is brighter green, and has several dark patches not usually found in the other two species. Sexes identical.
Adult Structural Features: The genitalia of F. comstocki are quite distinct from both F. jocosa and F. major, which are quite similar to each other. The juxta in F. jocosa is U-shaped but much narrower than that of F. comstocki; in F. major the juxta is breast-shaped. The tip of the valve is proportional to the anal projection, whereas in F. major the tip is much larger relative to the projection. The vesica is broad with two diffuse patches of cornuti. In F. major the vesica is narrower and the patches of cornuti are more sclerotized and distinct. In the female, the anal plate is somewhat broader than in F. major and the accessory bursa is narrower and less sclerotized than in F. major.
Structural photos
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from photos showing hindwings, abdomen, or other specialized views [e.g., frons, palps, antennae, undersides].
Immatures and Development: Larval pattern similar to the other two species but differs in that the spiracular line is often a series of unconnected oval dots and the subspiracular line is often missing spots and indistinct (see Maier et al., 2011, and Wagner et al., 2011, for illustrations and detailed descriptions).
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: All of our records come from the low Mountains.
County Map: Clicking on a county returns the records for the species in that county.
Flight Dates:
 High Mountains (HM) ≥ 4,000 ft.
 Low Mountains (LM) < 4,000 ft.
 Piedmont (Pd)
 Coastal Plain (CP)

Click on graph to enlarge
Flight Comments: Single brooded, on the wing in late March and early April, before most collectors are active.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Mesic montane forest with abundant hemlock, including Cove Forests at mid elevations and Northern Hardwoods at higher elevations.
Larval Host Plants: Balsam fir, hemlock, spruce and other evergreens (Maier et al, 2004) but there is probably specificity. No information on foodplant preferences in North Carolina, but larvae of Feralia have been found on hemlocks below Grandfather Mountain.
Observation Methods: Comes to light but no records from bait.
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for Montane Cool Mesic Conifer Forests
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR [SU]
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: We have few records for this species, probably due in part to its late winter flight period. To the extent that this species is dependent on Hemlock or Fraser Fir, it may be highly vulnerable to the effects of the introduced adelgids that are decimating those species. It is also likely to be vulnerable to the effects of global climate change, including the drying out of mesic forests and particularly in the retreat of Spruce-fir Forests to even smaller high elevation refugia than they currently occupy. More surveys need to be conducted of adults or larvae in order to determine its current distribution and habitat associations, as well as to monitor its population trends as its environments change.

 Photo Gallery for Feralia jocosa - Joker Moth

44 photos are available. Only the most recent 30 are shown.

Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-03-30
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-03-23
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-03-06
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-03-05
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: tom ward on 2022-03-04
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-03-04
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-03-03
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-03-02
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-02-24
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-02-23
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-02-22
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-03-23
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-03-17
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-03-11
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-03-10
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-02-28
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-02-27
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-02-24
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-03-27
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-03-27
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-03-12
Madison Co.
Comment: A greenish tan morph that tends to appear later in the season.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-03-09
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-03-03
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-02-25
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-02-25
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-04-06
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-04-06
Madison Co.
Comment: A greenish tan morph that tends to appear later in the season.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-03-29
Madison Co.
Comment: A greenish tan morph that tends to appear later in the season.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-03-24
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-03-10
Madison Co.
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