Moths of North Carolina
Scientific Name:
Common Name:
Family (Alpha):
« »
View PDFNoctuidae Members:
Sympistis Members:
6 NC Records

Sympistis perscripta (Guenée, 1852) - Scribbled Sallow

No image for this species.
Superfamily: Noctuoidea Family: NoctuidaeSubfamily: OncocnemidinaeP3 Number: 931797.00 MONA Number: 10154.00 MONA Synonym: Lepipolys perscripta
Comments: One of 256 species in this genus that occur in North America north of Mexico (Lafontaine and Schmidt, 2010). The vast majority of these species are associated with xeric habitats in the West (Troubridge, 2008) and only four species have been recorded in North Carolina.
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, GBIF, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: Forbes (1954, as Oncocnemis perscripta)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Forbes (1954); Wagner et al. (2011)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: A medium-sized, pale gray to grayish brown Noctuid with well-marked transverse lines and spots. The ground color is fairly uniform but the basal third may be somewhat darker. The antemedian and postmedian lines are both constrastingly black and sinuous or waved; the antemedian is often bordered anteriorly with a brownish shade. The orbicular, claviform, and reniform spots are all large and represented by fine black outlines that are filled with the ground color. A subterminal line composed of small spots may also be present. Hindwings are dirty-white (Forbes, 1954).
Wingspan: 30 mm (Forbes, 1954)
Adult Structural Features: Male and female reproductive structures are illustrated but not described by Troubridge (2008)
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: Larvae are strikingly patterned with yellow, black, and white. A series of large mid-dorsal yellow, white-ringed spots are bordered by black subdorsal bands, which are bordered below by wide spiracular stripes of yellow. The head and lateral stripes are spotted with black (Forbes, 1954; Wagner et al., 2011).
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 southern half of the Coastal Plain, including the Fall-line Sandhills
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: Possibly univoltine, with our records all coming from April and May
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Our records come from sandy habitats in the Coastal Plain, mostly from within Longleaf Pine-dominated sandhill habitats or where these habitats are located close by. Common toadflax often occurs in disturbed habitats, but since our surveys have targeted native habitats for the most part, we have no records from such sites in North Carolina
Larval Host Plants: Stenophagous, feeding on toadflaxes, particularly Common (= Canada) Toadflax (Nuttallanthus canadensis = Linaria canadensis) (Wagner et al., 2011) - View
Observation Methods: All our records were obtained using blacklights
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status: W3
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G4 SU
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: This species has long been considered to be local and uncommon (e.g., Forbes, 1954). Wagner et al. (2011) also describe its populations as fugitive. Our few records are consistent with these descriptions, at least with respect to natural habitats. It is possible, however, that this species is more common in disturbed areas, which appears to be the case for its host plant. Until more surveys -- particularly of larvae -- are conducted in such habitats, we cannot be certain about its conservation status in North Carolina.