Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFNoctuidae Members: 7 NC Records

Spiramater lutra (Guenée, 1852) - Otter Spiramater Moth


Taxonomy
Superfamily: Noctuoidea Family: NoctuidaeSubfamily: NoctuinaeTribe: HadeniniP3 Number: 932883.00 MONA Number: 10301.00
Comments: The genus contains a single species found in North America and it reaches the higher mountains of North Carolina. Originally, a second species (Lacanobia grandis) was included but has since been removed because neither male genitalic nor barcode data supported that placement.
Species Status: A specimen from North Carolina has been barcoded and differs from those from further north by about 1% indicating that the species is probably homogenous. However, additional specimens need to be sequenced in order to establish whether or not the slight deviation is of significance.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Beadle and Leckie (2012)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONATechnical Description, Adults: Forbes (1954)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Wagner et al. (2011)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: This large Noctuid should present no difficulties in identification based on the accompanying pictures. The large reniform and fuscous hindwings separate it from other large Noctuids likely to be encountered at these altitudes.
Adult Structural Features: Both male and female genitalia are quite distinct. In the male the vesica is extremely long with a distinct cornutus while in the female the appendix bursae is twisted.
Structural photos
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: The bright green or yellow-green caterpillar is reasonably distinct (see illustrations and description in Wagner et al., 2011).
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Found across the entire extent of the mountains in North Carolina, usually above 3500’.
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: We have records from May to July, but too few to determine any pattern. Wagner et al. (2011) state that it has a single flight period in the North.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: In the North, this species appears to be most commonly associated with bogs and acid soil habitats (Wagner et al., 2011), which fit at least a few of the sites where this species has been recorded in North Carolina. However, we also have records from well-drained slopes and ridgetops, including one granitic outcrop. Abundant heaths may be the common denominator across these sites.
Larval Host Plants: Polyphagous, reported from many shrubs and trees (see Wagner et al., 2011 for an extensive list) but seems to prefer Ericaceous plants.
Observation Methods: Adults come to light and it is likely they respond to bait but not flowers.
Wikipedia
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status: [W3]
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 limited experience with this primarily northern Noctuid. Both the host plants and habitats used in the Southern Appalachians need to be better understood before we can accurately assess the conservation needs of this species.

 Photo Gallery for Spiramater lutra - Otter Spiramater Moth

Photos: 1

Recorded by: Bo Sullivan on 2001-06-26
Haywood Co.
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