Moths of North Carolina
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Ostrinia Members:
11 NC Records

Ostrinia penitalis (Grote, 1876) - American Lotus Borer Moth

Superfamily: Pyraloidea Family: CrambidaeSubfamily: PyraustinaeTribe: PyraustiniP3 Number: 801420.00 MONA Number: 4946.00
Comments: This genus was recently revised by Yang et al. (2021), with fifteen species now described worldwide. Four species occur in North America, all of which have been recorded in North Carolina. As described by Yang et al., Ostrinia penitalis is included in their Clade II, the Penitalis Species Group.
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIF, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: Forbes (1923); Munroe (1976)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: A medium-small, pale yellowish-brown Pyraustine. The markings are contrastingly reddish (rarely grayish). Both the antemedian and postmedian lines are dentate; the postmedian is drawn in below the cell, bluntly projecting in the fold, and drawn in again to the inner margin. The subterminal is also dentate but usually as a diffuse shade and more rarely a narrower line. The reniform is a slight vertical line, often followed by a dark shade. The hindwing is much paler and has a vertical discal bar followed by an even but dentate postmedian line that runs fairly straight across the wing, at least as far as the cell. A similarly even, dentate subterminal line is also present. Ostrinia obumbratalis is similar in size and pattern but has brownish rather than reddish markings. Ostrinia nubilalis is brighter yellow and the face has two clear white lines on the sides of the front instead of straw yellow found in the other two species (Forbes, 1923). According to Brian Scholtens (pers. comm., 2017), "There can be confusion between penitalis and obumbratalis (and sometimes even nubilalis). I look for a dash on the hindwing in penitalis."
Wingspan: 25 mm (Forbes, 1923)
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from photos showing hindwings, abdomen, or other specialized views [e.g., frons, palps, antennae, undersides].
Distribution in North Carolina
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: Our records include several sites where ponds, canals, or sluggish waters are known to be present.
Larval Host Plants: Larvae feed on aquatic plants, including Water Lilies (Munroe, 1976) and American Lotus (Robinson et al., 2012)
See also Habitat Account for General Herbaceous Ponds
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR S3S4
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.

 Photo Gallery for Ostrinia penitalis - American Lotus Borer Moth

Photos: 8

Recorded by: Dean Furbish and Joy Wiggins on 2022-08-14
Wake Co.
Recorded by: Dean Furbish and Joy Wiggins on 2022-08-14
Wake Co.
Recorded by: David George on 2021-08-17
Durham Co.
Recorded by: L. M. Carlson on 2019-08-12
Orange Co.
Recorded by: Paul Scharf on 2015-08-12
Warren Co.
Recorded by: T. DeSantis on 2012-08-07
Camden Co.
Recorded by: Doug Blatny / Jackie Nelson on 2011-05-24
Ashe Co.
Recorded by: T. DeSantis on 2010-07-02
Camden Co.