Moths of North Carolina
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9 NC Records

Tortricidia pallida (Herrich-Schäffer, 1854) - Red-crossed Button Slug Moth


Taxonomy
Superfamily: Zygaenoidea Family: LimacodidaeP3 Number: 660011.00 MONA Number: 4653.00
Comments: One of three closely related species of this genus to occur in N.A., all of which occur in NC
Species Status: In adult form this species and T. flexuosa cannot be differentiated morphologically, and perhaps not even through genitalic dissection, and are thought by experts specializing in this group likely to be conspecific (Wagner, 2005). As such they are currently best considered a species complex, T. pallida/flexuosa. This genus needs reexamination (see discussion on MPG).
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, BAMONATechnical Description, Adults: Forbes (1923)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Wagner (2005)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: Forewings warm brown to light pinkish brown or pale buff. Like T. flexuosa, forewings can show a faintly patterned, more or less straight brown or reddish AM line and rounded PM line, both typically incomplete or faint, or they can be unmarked. Indistinguishable from (light form of) T. flexuosa (see comments above). T. pallida also resembles Heterogenia shurtleffi; given individual variation among both species, they, too, might best be considered indistinguishable from one another, with DNA examination the only sure way to separate the two in adult form.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable only by close inspection of structural features or by DNA analysis.
Immatures and Development: The slug-like caterpillar is very similar to others in the genus. It is pale green and oval in shape with broad, reddish (sometimes greenish), cross-shaped patches on the dorsum (hence the common name), the side "arms" being the widest and extending to the bottom of the segment edges. The anterior arm narrows to a thin line while the posterior arm is more broadly triangular than its congeners (Wagner, 2005).
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution:
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
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Deciduous woodlands.
Larval Host Plants: Woody plants such as beeches, cherry, oak, and willow (Wagner, 2005).
Observation Methods: Attracted to lights to some extent
Wikipedia
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks:
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: All three Tortricidia appear to be at least relatively common across the state, but because of the identification challenges, a clear picture of the status of T. pallida/flexuosa seems unlikely to be resolved in the near future. Although it is tempting to assign specific names to any adults encountered, given the taxonomic uncertainties it is safest to call any given individual "Tortricidia sp."

 Photo Gallery for Tortricidia pallida - Red-crossed Button Slug Moth

Photos: 1

Recorded by: Paul Scharf,B. Bockhahn, K. Kittelberger on 2012-07-24
Ashe Co.
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