Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFNoctuidae Members: 3 NC Records

Euxoa violaris (Grote & Robinson, 1868) - Violet Dart Moth



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Taxonomy
Superfamily: Noctuoidea Family: NoctuidaeSubfamily: NoctuinaeTribe: NoctuiniP3 Number: 933422.00 MONA Number: 10810.00
Comments: One of 181 species that occur in North America north of Mexico (Lafontaine and Schmidt, 2010). Most are Western but 13 have been recorded in North Carolina. Belongs to the Violaris Species Group of Subgenus Euxoa (Lafontaine, 1987).
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: Forbes (1954); Lafontaine (1987)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: A medium-sized, violet gray and reddish brown Dart. The head, thorax, and the ground color of the forewings is pale gray with a somewhat violet sheen. The area between the reniform and postmedian is shaded with a darker red-brown; the antemedian and postmedian may also be largely dark reddish-brown but can also be a paler gray than the ground color, sometimes bordered by darker brown. The antemdian typically has an outward tooth or kink just above the inner margin and a similar sharp bend at the radius, with the segment in between running straight; the postmedian, in contrast, is smoothly curved. The orbicular is represented by a thin brown outline and is filled with the ground color; the reniform is usually filled with fuscous and embedded within the darker red brown shade. Hindwings are often pale at the base, shading to yellowish-brown towards the outside, with a darker discal bar usually present. This species is unlikely to confused with anything else, but Uloloche modesta is similar in size and general coloration but differs markedly in the course of its transverse lines.
Wingspan: 35-40 mm (Forbes, 1954)
Adult Structural Features: Female reproductive structures are distinct and are described and illustrated by MacDunnough (1950). Male reproductive structures also appear to be distinct and are illustrated by MacDunnough, Forbes (1954) and Lafontaine (1987). Male antennae are strongly biserrate, more than other members of this genus in our area.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: Apparently not described
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Our sole records from the southern portion of the Outer Coastal Plain
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)

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Flight Comments: Univoltine, with adults flying in October
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Our records come from xeric sandhills located adjacent to the lower Cape Fear River. The vegetation is classified as Coastal Fringe Sandhills, which includes a mixture of maritime species and those associated with dry Longleaf Pine habitats. Records elsewhere also come from areas located near the coast but not necessarily beach dunes or other maritime habitats. Lafontaine (1987) states that it is associated with areas of loose sand.
Larval Host Plants: Host plants appear to be unknown. Like other species in this genus, violaris may be a general feeder on grasses and forbs, although its restricted range of habitats suggests that it could be more specialized.
Observation Methods: Comes at least somewhat to lights but to what extent has not been determined
Wikipedia
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status: SR
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G4 S1S2
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: This species was considered rare by MacDunnough (1950) and is known from relatively few sites from coastal Massachusetts to the Panhandle of Florida (Lafontaine, 1987). Although apparently known from North Carolina since at least the 1950s, we only have records from only a single site, where it was collected during the Asian Gypsy Moth Nontarget Impact Survey (Hall et al., 1999). It has not been collected in sandhills habitats elsewhere despite fairly intensive surveys of their moth faunas. There is no indication as to why it is so scarce, but it does appear to have specialized habitat requirements. In North Carolina, its one known population is threatened by sea level rise; consequently, we consider it to be of significant conservation concern.