Moths of North Carolina
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170 NC Records

Euclea delphinii (Boisduval, 1832) - Spiny Oak-slug Moth



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Taxonomy
Superfamily: Zygaenoidea Family: LimacodidaeP3 Number: 660051.00 MONA Number: 4697.00
Comments: One of five representatives of this genus found in North America, one of which occurs in North Carolina and another one is possible
Species Status: Barcoding indicates that Florida populations of delphinii are well separated from Euclea nanina, but it is unclear whether these two are distinct elsewhere, including North Carolina (Marc Eptstein, pers. comm. to JBS, 2015). More work is needed to determine whether there are any diagnostic characters that can be used to separate these species outside of Florida.
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: Chestnut or chocolate brown to grayish brown forewings, often with a violet sheen and typically bearing a black discal spot; the thorax and abdomen are also brown. FW bears a well-defined, elongated orange patch in the upper half of the median area and a smaller, less well-defined orange patch or orange spotting in the sub-terminal area near the apex (sometimes reduced or absent). Typical adults can be identified by the presence of two white-edged, pistachio green markings, the largest in the basal area (anteriorly adjacent to the larger orange patch), and the smaller in the postmedian area (anteriorly adjacent to the orange spots, if present). The shape and distribution of green can range from small discrete patches to connected patches to encompassing much of the forewing ("green form" not uncommon in the Midwest but rare to very rare in the east). The differentiation of E. delphinii from the very similar E. nanina can be a challenge. According to Neumoegen and Dyar (1894), the spots in delphinii, are more angular, with the discal spot more extended than in nanina, where the spots are more rounded and the discal spot in particular being punctiform. According to J.D. Roberts (pers. comm. to P. Backstrom), the green basal patch is proportionally smaller than that of nanina and only borders (or stops very close to) vein CuA, not drifting over the vein. In nanina the green basal patch always rises just above vein CuA. Size is also indicative with delphinii always being the significantly larger of the two. Until these field marks are correlated with significant differences found in DNA or structural features, none of these differences can be considered definitive. In the meantime, we lean more towards the characters originally used by Dyar. Length of the forewing should be recorded where possible.
Wingspan: 25-30 mm (Forbes, 1923)
Adult Structural Features: Male antennae are closely pectinate at the base but serrate in the outer third (Forbes, 1923).
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: Larvae are exceptionally variable in color, ranging from pink, red, or orange to yellow, green, or tan. Recognizable by overall shape and two or four patches of black detachable spines at the rear of the body (in last two instars). Anterior end possessing three pairs of elongate, subdorsal lobes each bearing numerous stinging spines. Sides with shallow depressions ringed with black or white situated between subdorsal and subspiracular lobes (Wagner, 2005). Despite the numerous spines, the sting of the larvae is said to be relatively mild.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Appears to occur statewide, from the Barrier Islands to High 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: Flies primarily from May to August in the Piedmont and Mountains, but has a more prolonged flight in the Coastal Plain
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: We have records from essentially all habitats occurring across the state.
Larval Host Plants: A variety of woody plants including Blueberry, Apple, Ash, Beech, Cherry, Chestnut, Hickory, Maple, Oak, Sycamore, and Willows (Wagner, 2005).
Observation Methods: Readily attracted to lights but like other Limacodids does not appear to come to bait or to visit flowers.
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for General Forests and Shrublands
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: Common across the state and utilizes a very broad range of habitats and host plants. Appears to be quite secure in North Carolina.

 Photo Gallery for Euclea delphinii - Spiny Oak-slug Moth

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

Recorded by: Morgan Freese on 2022-07-06
New Hanover Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-06-28
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Richard Teper on 2022-06-26
Avery Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-06-24
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Richard Teper on 2022-06-16
Macon Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-06-12
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish and Joy Wiggins on 2022-05-04
Pender Co.
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Recorded by: R. Newman on 2022-04-13
Carteret Co.
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Recorded by: R. Newman; Ben Fleming on 2021-11-08
Carteret Co.
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Recorded by: April Key on 2021-08-27
Caldwell Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-08-04
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-07-21
Graham Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-06-12
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-06-04
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2021-05-27
Onslow Co.
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Recorded by: tom ward on 2021-05-24
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: tom ward on 2021-05-24
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-05-24
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: R. Newman on 2021-04-28
Carteret Co.
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Recorded by: R. Newman on 2021-04-26
Carteret Co.
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Recorded by: R. Newman on 2020-10-13
Carteret Co.
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Recorded by: Kyle Kittelberger, Brian Bockhahn on 2020-07-15
Polk Co.
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Recorded by: Ken Kneidel on 2020-06-14
Yancey Co.
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Recorded by: Ken Kneidel on 2020-06-14
Yancey Co.
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Recorded by: jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-05-26
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-09-02
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2019-07-27
Onslow Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-06-24
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: David L. Heavner on 2019-06-20
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: David L. Heavner on 2019-06-20
Buncombe Co.
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