Moths of North Carolina
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56 NC Records

Thyridopteryx ephemeraeformis (Haworth, 1803) - Evergreen Bagworm Moth



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Taxonomy
Superfamily: Tineoidea Family: PsychidaeSubfamily: OiketicinaeTribe: [Oiketicini]P3 Number: 300028.00 MONA Number: 457.00
Comments: The family Psychidae contains as many as 1,350 species that are found worldwide. The females of many species are flightless, and the larvae of all species live in constructed cases or bags, hence the name bagworms. There are 28 species in North America, including five species of Thyridopteryx.
Species Status: Thyridopteryx ephemeraeformis can often reach high densities on host plants and can become a defoliating pest on woody ornamentals.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984)Online Photographs: MPG;BugGuide;BAMONATechnical Description, Adults: Davis (1964)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Peterson, 1969                                                                                 
Adult Markings: This species is difficult to confuse with any other species. The body of the male has a woolly appearance from long, dark, dense scales that cover the head, thorax, and abdomen. Those on the abdomen often wear away to varying degrees with time. The antenna is broadly lanceolate with a broad base that tapers to a fine tip. Both the forewing and hindwing are almost devoid of scales except for concentrations along the costal margin and the anal area (Davis, 1964). The exposed wing membrane is transparent. The wingless females live in distinctive bags that are 30-50 mm long and 10-15 mm in diameter, with the greatest diameter at or near the middle. The bag consists of a silk lining that is covered with plant material. The ornamentation is variable depending on the food plant, but the bag never has an external sheet of silk like certain other psychids (Davis, 1964). When pieces of stems are incorporated, they are applied longitudinally and usually are of moderate length (15 mm or less in most cases). On cedars, the cases are frequently adorned with the fruit of the host.
Wingspan: 17.5-36 mm for males; 20-24 mm for females (Davis, 1964).
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: Mating occurs in the late summer or early fall, and the female lays overwintering eggs inside her bag. The larvae hatch in late spring or early summer, and they often balloon on silken threads to nearby host plants, particularly if the resident plant is defoliated or of poor quality (Rhainds et al. 2009). Hatchlings construct bags that are adorned with plant material and/or organic debris and enlarge them as they grow. Upon completion of feeding, the larva tightly attaches the anterior portion of its bag onto a substrate. Pupation occurs within the bag, and the male emerges from the caudal end of the bag. The wingless females remain in their bags and attract males by releasing pheromones. Males insert their abdomens into the bags to mate. After ovipositing on their shed pupal cases, most females drop from their bags and die shortly thereafter (Peterson, 1969).

Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Thyridopteryx ephemeraeformis occurs in the eastern half of North America southward to northern South America. In North America, it occurs in Ontario and throughout most of the eastern and central US. It occurs statewide In North Carolina, but appears to be rare or absent from the higher elevations in the 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
Immature 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: Local populations are univoltine, with mating occurring in late summer or early fall. Most of our records for males are from July through early October.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: The larvae are polyphagous, but are most commonly found on evergreen conifers, particularly Eastern Red Cedar and Southern Red Cedar. Eastern Red Cedar is a successional species that is common in abandoned fields, and along fence rows and roadways. Southern Red Cedar is found along the coast where it grows in maritime forests as well as more open habitats such as dunes and shell middens. These species generally prefer areas with high soil pH.
Larval Host Plants: The larvae are extremely polyphagous and are known to feed on members of over 50 families of plants, including numerous deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs (Rhainds et al., 2009). They show a strong preference for evergreen conifers, including Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana), Southern Red Cedar (J. salicicola), and ornamentals such as Leyland Cypress (Cupressus × leylandii) and Arborvitae (Thuja spp.).
Observation Methods: The males occasionally visit lights, and the bags are easily spotted on the host plants such as Eastern Red Cedar and Southern Red Cedar.
Wikipedia
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR [S5]
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: This species is often locally common and can become a pest on ornamentals. It appears to be secure within the state.

 Photo Gallery for Thyridopteryx ephemeraeformis - Evergreen Bagworm Moth

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

Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2022-07-29
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2022-07-29
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2022-07-29
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: David George, Becky Watkins on 2022-05-23
New Hanover Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2022-05-06
Pender Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2022-04-25
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2022-04-25
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: David George on 2022-04-11
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2022-04-02
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2022-03-22
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: David George on 2022-03-05
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2022-02-18
Hyde Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2022-01-08
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: David George on 2021-12-16
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-09-15
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: R. Newman on 2021-09-14
Carteret Co.
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Recorded by: R. Newman on 2021-09-06
Carteret Co.
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Recorded by: David George, L. M. Carlson on 2021-08-21
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-08-20
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-08-18
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-08-17
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-08-14
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-08-14
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-04-28
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-04-12
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-04-12
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-02-10
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2020-12-29
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Simpson Eason on 2020-12-23
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Morgan Freese on 2020-11-27
New Hanover Co.
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