Moths of North Carolina
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1 NC Records

Anarta trifolii (Hufnagel, 1766) - Nutmeg Moth

Superfamily: Noctuoidea Family: NoctuidaeSubfamily: NoctuinaeTribe: HadeniniP3 Number: 932826.00 MONA Number: 10223.00 MONA Synonym: Dicestra trifolii
Comments: A large genus of somewhat uncertain composition which has undergone numerous taxonomic changes in recent years. Primarily Holarctic in distribution, there are 23 species in North America, almost exclusively Western, but one species ventures into the east and into North Carolina.
Species Status: Our one specimen from North Carolina was submitted for barcoding but the process failed. Specimens from all over the world show considerable heterogeneity but never enough to suggest that there are hidden species. The species has an enormous range from China through Europe and across North America.
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984; as Discestra trifolii); Beadle and Leckie (2012)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIF, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: Forbes (1954), as Scotogramma trifoliiTechnical Description, Immature Stages: Forbes (1954); Wagner et al. (2011)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: This species looks very much like a number of medium sized brown noctuids, particularly Homorthodes. The yellowish zigzag subterminal line is a good character not found in similar species.
Wingspan: 3 - 4 cm (Covell, 1984)
Adult Structural Features: The male genitalia from our one specimen are sufficiently different from those of other species likely to be confused with it. Note the considerable asymmetry.
Structural photos
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: The caterpillar is extremely variable in both color and pattern (Wagner et al., 2011), possibly the the most variable Noctuid in our fauna.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable only through rearing to adulthood.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: At present known from a single record in Ashe County. It is likely that its range is expanding.
County Map: Clicking on a county returns the records for the species in that county.
Flight Dates:
 High Mountains (HM) ‚Č• 4,000 ft.
 Low Mountains (LM) < 4,000 ft.
 Piedmont (Pd)
 Coastal Plain (CP)

Click on graph to enlarge
Flight Comments: The species is multiple brooded and it is likely additional records will become known.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Found in open fields and agricultural settings as well as woodland edges. Our one record is consistent with that description.
Larval Host Plants: Wagner et al. (2011) indicate that it is a general forb feeder but will utilize elm and poplar as well. Many agricultural crops are attacked. Covell (1984) specifically lists cabbage, clover, and lettuce. We do not have any feeding records in North Carolina. - View
Observation Methods: Adults readily come to light and bait and probably come to flowers although we could find no records of this activity.
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G5 [SU]
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: Although this species is widely distributed and makes use of common habitats, its status as a resident species in North Carolina needs to be determined.

 Photo Gallery for Anarta trifolii - Nutmeg Moth

Photos: 1

Recorded by: Bo Sullivan on 2014-06-01
Ashe Co.