Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFCossidae Members: 84 NC Records

Prionoxystus robiniae (Peck, 1818) - Carpenterworm Moth


Taxonomy
Superfamily: Cossoidea Family: CossidaeSubfamily: CossinaeTribe: [Cossini]P3 Number: 640029.00 MONA Number: 2693.00
Comments: One of three members of the genus in North America, two of which are found in North Carolina. It is among the largest of the "micro-moths."
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (2005); Beadle and Leckie (2012)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, BAMONATechnical Description, Adults: Forbes (1923)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Packard (1890)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: Sexually dimorphic. Both sexes possess a thick abdomen, broad thorax, and disproportionally small head with pectinate antennae. The forewings of the female are black and heavily mottled with black-centered gray spots and blotches, while the hindwings are translucent gray. Males are smaller with narrower, more attenuated forewings that show similar markings but appear noticeably blacker overall. The hindwings of the male have a straighter outer margin and are reddish-orange to yellow, bordered in black. Differentiated from P. macmurtrei by less translucent gray-spotted rather than black-striated forewings.
Wingspan: 50-75 mm (Forbes, 1923)
Adult Structural Features: Length from tip of head to apex of forewing at rest averages 44.5 mm (n=2) (female).
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: The larvae are known as carpenterworms for their wood-boring habits. Early instars are reddish-pink with dark brown thoracic segments and heads. Last instar is large (up to 3 inches) and greenish-white, with pink shading, raised reddish bumps along the dorsum and sides, reddish, oval spiracles, and a dark brown head and thorax. Because they develop in wood, larvae are rarely seen, although the exit holes can be seen scarring tree trunks. This species can be a serious pest in ornamental or agricultural settings.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Probably occurs statewide
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: Appears to have one main flight, from April to early August in North Carolina
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Most of our records come from stands of hardwoods growing in bottomlands or mesic slopes. A few, however, come from xeric sites, including maritime forests, sandhills, and dry ridge tops.
Larval Host Plants: Larvae bore into wood of deciduous trees such as ash, chestnut, locusts, oaks, willows, and others (Covell, 2005).
Observation Methods: Both sexes attracted to lights, though females are seen more commonly than males. Since the mouthparts of the adults are rudimentary, they do not feed and consequently do not come to bait or visit flowers
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 in state parks and on other public lands.
Comments: This species is widespread in North Carolina and uses a wide variety of habitats, some very common. Consequently, it appears to be secure within the state.

 Photo Gallery for Prionoxystus robiniae - Carpenterworm Moth

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

Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-06-12
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka, Bo Sullivan and Steve Hall on 2021-06-07
Moore Co.
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Recorded by: Simpson Eason on 2021-05-24
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka, Bo Sullivan and Steve Hall on 2021-05-10
Moore Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka, Bo Sullivan and Steve Hall on 2021-05-10
Moore Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-05-02
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2021-04-29
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Simpson Eason on 2021-04-19
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Simpson Eason on 2021-04-10
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-06-06
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-06-01
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2019-06-24
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-06-19
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Ken Kneidel on 2019-06-02
Yancey Co.
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Recorded by: Ken Kneidel on 2019-06-02
Yancey Co.
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Recorded by: Ken Kneidel on 2019-06-02
Yancey Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-06-01
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2018-06-18
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2018-05-25
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Stephen Hall, Ed Corey, and Brian Bockhahn on 2017-05-17
Surry Co.
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Recorded by: K. Bischof on 2017-05-16
McDowell Co.
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Recorded by: J. A. Anderson on 2016-07-03
Surry Co.
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Recorded by: Steve Hall and Bo Sullivan on 2016-06-14
Ashe Co.
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Recorded by: J. A. Anderson on 2015-07-10
Surry Co.
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Recorded by: Paul Scharf, B.Bockhahn, C.Mitchell on 2015-06-05
Durham Co.
Comment: Female
Recorded by: K. Bischof on 2015-06-04
McDowell Co.
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Recorded by: K. Bischof on 2014-06-14
McDowell Co.
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Recorded by: Lori Owenby on 2014-06-04
Catawba Co.
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Recorded by: Doug Blatny / Jackie Nelson on 2014-06-03
Ashe Co.
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Recorded by: K. Bischof on 2014-06-03
McDowell Co.
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