Moths of North Carolina
Scientific Name:
Common Name:
Family (Alpha):
« »
View PDFLimacodidae Members: 35 NC Records

Phobetron pithecium (J.E. Smith, 1797) - Hag [Monkey Slug] Moth



view caption

view caption
Taxonomy
Superfamily: Zygaenoidea Family: LimacodidaeP3 Number: 660035.00 MONA Number: 4677.00
Comments: One of two members of the genus to occur in North America and the only one that occurs in the eastern U.S.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984); Beadle and Leckie (2012)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, BAMONATechnical Description, Adults: Forbes (1923)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Wagner (2005)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: Length from tip of head to apex of forewing at rest averages 13 mm (n = 3). Females show a brown thorax, abdomen, and legs, with shiny black forewings bearing a band of cream-edged gray or brown semi-translucent ovals running through the median area, and similar markings between the median area and the base. In fresh condition there is a pair of thin, iridescent, silvery-blue sub-terminal lines which stand out against the dark forewings. These pale blue scales are also scattered across the rest of the forewings and thorax. Males are similar in appearance but have slightly narrower and more attenuated forewings which are more extensively translucent. Both sexes possess an obvious and distinctive white or cream-colored tuft on the tibia of middle set of fore-legs. In worn condition identification of this species is more challenging as it can look like any number of small, dark moths, such as Thyridopteryx ephemeraeformis, though that species is larger, its body shape longer, with completely clear wings.
Wingspan: 20 mm, males; 25 mm, females (Forbes, 1923)
Adult Structural Features: Male antennae are pectinate at the base but simple at the tip; palps do not reach the vertex and the head is strongly retracted; hind tibiae have two pairs of spurs but the upper ones are weak (Forbes, 1923).
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: Unmistakable. The caterpillar is covered entirely by dense, hair-like setae, brown or gray in color, with six pairs of thick "arms,' three pairs alternately long and short. Despite the fearsome appearance, the larvae do not sting (Wagner, 2005). This species is sometimes referred to as the Monkey Slug Moth.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Most of our records are concentrated in the eastern Piedmont, but given its wide range of host plants, it is expected to occur more widely
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: Flies mainly in July and August, with outliers in May and September
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Most of our records come from fairly dry upland forests, although we have at least a few from lakeshores.
Larval Host Plants: Broadly polyphagous, feeding upon Birches, Apples, Cherries, Dogwood, Hickory, Persimmon, Walnut, Willow, and many other woody plants (Wagner, 2005).
Observation Methods: Comes to lights, but appears to be seen more often at sheets than is collected in traps. Like other Limacodid, it probably does not come to bait or visit flowers.
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for General Forests and Shrublands
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G4 [S4]
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it in state parks and on other public lands.
Comments: Given the broad distribution of its many food plants, we would assume the species to be more commonly encountered than it seems to be in the state. Perhaps its attraction to lights is merely modest. Females are more likely to be encountered at lights than males.

 Photo Gallery for Phobetron pithecium - Hag [Monkey Slug] Moth

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

Recorded by: Lior Carlson on 2021-09-05
Orange Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: tom ward on 2021-06-22
Buncombe Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: tom ward on 2021-06-22
Buncombe Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-06-06
Wake Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-06-06
Wake Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-08-22
Madison Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2020-07-24
Madison Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-05-17
Guilford Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-05-17
Guilford Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-09-15
Madison Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Thomas C Reed on 2019-08-31
Wake Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: David L. Heavner on 2019-08-02
Buncombe Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2019-05-22
Guilford Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2019-05-22
Guilford Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: K. Bischof on 2018-09-14
McDowell Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2018-06-09
Madison Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Lenny Lampel on 2015-07-18
Mecklenburg Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: L. Amos on 2014-10-11
Vance Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Paul Scharf on 2014-08-15
Warren Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Paul Scharf on 2014-08-15
Warren Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Paul Scharf on 2014-07-20
Warren Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Paul Scharf on 2014-07-20
Warren Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Paul Scharf on 2014-07-20
Warren Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Curtis Smalling on 2010-09-25
Burke Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: M. Haynes on 2010-08-26
Stokes Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Parker Backstrom on 2010-07-22
Chatham Co.
Comment: Female.
Recorded by: Parker Backstrom on 2010-05-16
Chatham Co.
Comment: Male.
Recorded by: B. Hartness on 2006-09-01
Moore Co.
Comment: On persimmon.
Recorded by: B. Hartness on 2006-09-01
Moore Co.
Comment: On persimmon.
Recorded by: Jane Wyche on 2005-07-11
Gates Co.
Comment: