Moths of North Carolina
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30 NC Records

Euxoa detersa (Walker, 1856) - Rubbed Dart Moth

Superfamily: Noctuoidea Family: NoctuidaeSubfamily: NoctuinaeTribe: NoctuiniP3 Number: 933461.00 MONA Number: 10838.00
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. Detersa elongs to the Detersa Species Group of Subgenus Euxoa, a large group also represented by redimicula in North Carolina (Lafontaine, 1987).
Species Status: Two subspecies of detersa have been described, of which we only have the nominate form in our area (Lafontaine, 1987)
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984); Beadle and Leckie (2012)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: Forbes (1954, as Agrotis detersa); Lafontaine (1987)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Forbes (1954); Lafontaine (1987); Wagner et al. (2011)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: A medium-sized, light brown and gray Dart (dark brown individuals are described from other areas but have not been seen here). The head, thorax, and costa of the forewing are usually gray or brownish gray. The antemedian line is pale and waved; the postmedian is dentate. Forbes (1954) describes the spots as small, but they are conspicuous in our specimens, including the claviform, all of which are filled with pale gray/brown; the area between the orbicular and reniform is darker brown and the spots are partially bordered with dark brown in some specimens. The subterminal line is more diffuse but also pale, contrasting with the darker terminal area, which is often darker gray in our specimens. Veins C1 and M3 are typically pale colored, crossing into the gray terminal area. A series of dark terminal dots are present, followed by a pale fringe. The hindwings are dirty white at the base, shading to fuscous terminally (Forbes, 1954).
Wingspan: 30-35 mm (Forbes, 1954)
Adult Structural Features: Male reproductive structures are illustrated by Forbes (1954) and Lafontaine (1987) and are described as distinct by Lafontaine.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: Larvae are called Sand Cutworms or Sandhill Cutworms and are nearly unpigmented, with only faint pale lines mid-dorsally, sub-dorsally, and with a thicker pale line below the spiracles (Wagner et al., 2011). Larvae are burrowers in loose sand and feed primarily below ground on roots and other tissues located close to the surface.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: All records that we have confirmed come from Barrier Islands
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: Univoltine, with adults flying primarily in October
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: This species appears to be strongly confined to sandy soils; all of our records come from dunes on barrier islands or from adjoining areas of maritime forest
Larval Host Plants: Polyphagous, possibly feeding primarily on grasses but also on forbs, including crop species grown on sandy soils (Wagner et al., 2011); considered a pest in some areas
Observation Methods: Appears to come well to lights
See also Habitat Account for Maritime Dune Grass and Forblands
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status: [W3]
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR S2S4
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: We have records for this species from relatively few areas, all with natural dune vegetation. It can be locally abundant within these habitats and elsewhere it is not confined to barrier islands and can even be a significant crop pest. More information is needed on its populations in North Carolina to determine whether it is more widespread than our current records indicate, or that it can adapt to the kind of changes in habitat associated with coastal development or with sea level rise.

 Photo Gallery for Euxoa detersa - Rubbed Dart Moth

Photos: 11

Recorded by: R. Newman on 2021-11-15
Carteret Co.
Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-10-29
Pender Co.
Recorded by: R. Newman on 2021-10-17
Carteret Co.
Recorded by: R. Newman on 2020-10-27
Carteret Co.
Recorded by: R. Newman on 2020-10-23
Carteret Co.
Recorded by: R. Newman on 2020-10-19
Carteret Co.
Recorded by: Mark Shields, Hunter Phillips on 2019-10-23
New Hanover Co.
Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2019-10-18
Pender Co.
Recorded by: B. Bockhahn on 2014-10-24
Dare Co.
Recorded by: Kyle Kittelberger, Paul Scharf on 2014-10-11
Dare Co.
Recorded by: Britta Muiznieks on 2013-10-30
Dare Co.