Moths of North Carolina
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Cerastis Members:
114 NC Records

Cerastis tenebrifera (Walker, 1865) - Reddish Speckled Dart Moth



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Taxonomy
Superfamily: Noctuoidea Family: NoctuidaeSubfamily: NoctuinaeTribe: NoctuiniP3 Number: 933536.00 MONA Number: 10994.00
Comments: The genus Cerastis has undergone significant change in the past 20 years, primarily due to its fusion with Metalepsis. It now contains about 13 species almost equally split between the Nearctic (mostly Metalepsis) and the Palearctic (mostly Cerastis). The combined genus is closely related to Choephora. We have two species in North Carolina, both of which fly early in the spring.
Species Status: Specimens from North Carolina have been examined and are similar to those from other parts of the species's range, with no evidence of hidden species.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984); Beadle and Leckie (2012)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: Forbes (1954); Lafontaine (1998)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Forbes (1954); Wagner et al. (2011)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The forewing is brick red with circular grey reniform and orbicular spots. There is a distinct black rectangular spot on the forewing costa in C. fishii which is absent in C. tenebrifera. Sexes are similar.
Wingspan: 33-38 mm (Forbes, 1954)
Adult Structural Features: This species differs from C. fishii in having bipectinate rather than biserrate antennae in the male. Both male and female genitalia are distinct from those in C. fishii and resolution of the species should present no problems.
Structural photos
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: Larvae are variable in color and pattern but usually have a broad, well-defined spiracular stripe. Other cutworms are similar and may be difficult to distinguish (see Wagner et al., 2011, for illustrations and a detailed description).
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable only through rearing to adulthood.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Occurs throughout the state and into the higher mountains.
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 in late winter into early spring
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Our records come almost entirely from hardwood-dominated forests, with almost none from more open habitats, such as maritime dunes, shrub-dominated peatlands, Longleaf Pine habitats, or old fields. Hardwood habitats used by this species range from floodplain forests to dry mountain slopes and summits.
Larval Host Plants: Probably polyphagous. In captivity, larvae accept a wide range of both forbs (e.g., lettuce and dandelion -- Forbes, 1954; Crumb, 1956) and trees (e.g., Cherry, Birch, Willow -- McCabe, in Wagner et al., 2011). There is, however, little indication of what the larvae are eating in the wild.
Observation Methods: Adults come to lights but not to bait but may come to flowers (of which there are very few during its flight period). However, a British member of the same genus does occur at willow blossoms (Porter, 1997). Larvae should be sought early in April before they become sizable and retreat from the foodplant by day.
Wikipedia
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G5 [S5]
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: Although more needs to be learned about the host plants and habitat associations of this species, it is found widely throughout the state and occupies a wide range of common habitats; it thus appears to be secure within the state.

 Photo Gallery for Cerastis tenebrifera - Reddish Speckled Dart Moth

66 photos are available. Only the most recent 30 are shown.

Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-04-04
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-03-23
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2022-03-18
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: tom ward on 2022-03-12
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Simpson Eason on 2022-03-06
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-03-05
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-03-03
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish and Joy Wiggins on 2022-03-03
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2022-03-02
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-03-02
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Michael P. Morales on 2022-02-24
Cumberland Co.
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Recorded by: Michael P. Morales on 2022-02-24
Cumberland Co.
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Recorded by: Michael P. Morales on 2022-02-24
Cumberland Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-02-24
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: David L. Heavner on 2022-02-22
Chatham Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2021-03-27
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Stephen Hall on 2021-03-25
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-03-24
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-03-22
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-03-17
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2021-03-12
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-03-12
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2021-03-11
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-03-11
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Stephen Hall on 2021-03-10
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Simpson Eason on 2021-03-10
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-03-09
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-02-27
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Simpson Eason on 2021-02-25
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-02-24
Madison Co.
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