Moths of North Carolina
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Cerastis Members:
25 NC Records

Cerastis fishii (Grote, 1878) - No Common Name

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Superfamily: Noctuoidea Family: NoctuidaeSubfamily: NoctuinaeTribe: NoctuiniP3 Number: 933537.00 MONA Number: 10997.00
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.
Field Guide Descriptions: Beadle and Leckie (2012)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, GBIF, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: Forbes (1954); Lafontaine (1998)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: Two color forms occur, one reddish, the other gray. There is a distinct black rectangular spot on the forewing costa which is absent in C. tenebrifera. Sexes are similar.
Wingspan: 35 mm (Forbes, 1954)
Adult Structural Features: This species, formerly in Metalepsis, differs from C. tenebrifera in having biserrate rather than bipectinate antennae in the male. Both male and female genitalia are distinct from those in C. tenebrifera 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: Based on photographs shown on MPG, larvae are fairly stout, purplish-red, and have pale stripe along the side
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable only through rearing to adulthood.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Our records come from the Mountains and Outer Coastal Plain.
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: At lower elevations the adults are found on warmer days in March, at higher elevations (low mountains) in April and May. Overlaps with the more common C. tenebrifera but usually is on the wing somewhat later in that speciesâ?? flight season.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Our records come from two areas where blueberries and other heaths are common: Longleaf Pine habitats in the Coastal Plain and upland habitats in the Mountains.
Larval Host Plants: Blueberries have been used to rear larvae from captive females but wild larvae have not yet been seen. - View
Observation Methods: Adults come to lights but we could not find records at bait or at flowers. However, a British member of the same genus does occur at willow blossoms (Porter, 1997).
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status: W3
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G4 [S3S4]
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: We have very few records from this species, but that is due partly to its very early flight period. It appears to be somewhat specialized in terms of its habitats, however, and at least some of its rarity could be due to changes in the frequency of the natural fires needed to support extensive areas of blueberries and other heaths, particularly in upland habitats. More adult surveys need to be conducted in the right habitats during the late winter, or larval surveys conducted later in the growing season, to determine the abundance, distribution, and habitats of this species.

 Photo Gallery for Cerastis fishii - No common name

Photos: 4

Recorded by: B. Bockhahn on 2024-03-04
Buncombe Co.
Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2020-03-19
Onslow Co.
Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2020-02-16
Onslow Co.
Recorded by: Amanda Auxier on 2018-02-19
Pender Co.