Moths of North Carolina
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63 NC Records

Desmia maculalis Westwood, 1831 - Grape Leafroller Moth



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Taxonomy
Superfamily: Pyraloidea Family: CrambidaeSubfamily: PyraustinaeTribe: SpilomeliniP3 Number: 801263.00 MONA Number: 5160.00
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984); Beadle and Leckie (2012)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIF, BOLD                                                                                 
Adult Markings: Desmia funeralis and D. maculalis have very similar dorsal patterns and are most reliably identified based on the patterning on the ventral surface of the abdomen. Brian Scholtens notes that D. funeralis either has a solid white patch on the underside of the abdomen on segments 1-5, or a solid white mark with a slight break on segment 3. In contrast, D. maculalis has a broken white patch, where about one-half of segments 3 and 4 are clearly dark. Basically, D. maculalis looks striped on the underside, whereas D. funeralis looks like it is solid white or white with a single dark band (see MPG).

In North Carolina specimens, the outer of the two white spots on the forewing in D. funeralis is sometimes noticeably larger than the inner spot (but often not!), while in D. maculalis they are usually either equal or the outer one is very slightly larger (JBS, pers. obs). Additionally, the hindwing median white band or pair of spots can be used for identification in some instances. In D. funeralis there is usually a single large band that reflects the complete fusion of two smaller spots, and the band may have a hint of an indentation in the middle. In D. maculalis, males and females exhibit different hindwing patterns. The male band closely resembles that of D. funeralis, while the female band consists of either two separate small spots, or two small spots that are partially fused with a pronounced indention near the middle.

Because of the difficulty of reliably identifying specimens based on dorsal patterning, we strongly recommend that both a dorsal image of the moth and a ventral image of the abdomen be submitted together.
Wingspan: 20-25 mm (Leckie and Beadle, 2018)
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from photos showing hindwings, abdomen, or other specialized views [e.g., frons, palps, antennae, undersides].
Immatures and Development: Desmia maculalis was synonymized with D. funeralis by Strauss (1916) and the two were not treated as separate species until recently. As such much of the published literature on the life history is confusing. This species is known to use grapes and Virginia Creeper as its primary hosts, but detailed, unambiguous descriptions of the life history are largely missing. The life history is presumably very similar to that of D. funeralis. The larvae have been found on Virginia Creeper in both rolled and folded leaves (BugGuide), with pupation occurring within the roll or fold. The late instars are very similar to those of D. funeralis in being translucent, yellowish-green on the sides and somewhat darker above. The head is light brown, and there is dark brown to blackish arc on the prothoracic shield that continues along its sides for a short distance. The second thoracic segment has four smaller black spots (pinacula) when viewed from above.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable only through rearing to adulthood.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Desmia maculalis occurs in Canada from British Columbia to Nova Scotia, and in every state in the eastern U.S. from North Dakota southward to Texas and eastward to the Atlantic coast. In the West, it occurs in New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, California, Oregon and Washington. This species is found statewide in North Carolina.
County Map: Clicking on a county returns the records for the species in that county.
Flight Dates:
 High Mountains (HM) ‚Č• 4,000 ft.
 Low Mountains (LM) < 4,000 ft.
 Piedmont (Pd)
 Coastal Plain (CP)

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Flight Comments: The adults have been observed from February through December in different areas of the range, with peak activity from April through September. As of 2023, our records range from mid-April through late-October, with local population having two generations per year.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Local populations are commonly found in habitats that support native grapes and Virginia Creeper. Examples include pine, hardwood, or mixed pine-hardwood forests, particularly where forest gaps, forest roads, wildlife openings, and stream banks provide good conditions for the growth of the host species.
Larval Host Plants: The larval hosts appear to be very similar to those of Desmia funeralis, with both domesticated and native grapes (Vitis spp.) and Virginia Creeper (Pathenocissus quinquefolia) being the primary hosts. Tracy Feldman successfully reared an adult in North Carolina from Virginia Creeper, and George Smiley (BugGuide) reared an adult from Bushy Seedbox (Ludwigia alternifolia) in Texas. - View
Observation Methods: The adults are attracted to lights; more information is needed on host use in North Carolina.
Wikipedia
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.
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 Photo Gallery for Desmia maculalis - Grape Leafroller Moth

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

Recorded by: Mark Basinger on 2024-04-21
Brunswick Co.
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Recorded by: Mark Basinger on 2024-04-13
Wilson Co.
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Recorded by: Mark Basinger on 2024-04-13
Wilson Co.
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Recorded by: Mark Basinger on 2024-04-02
Wilson Co.
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Recorded by: Mark Basinger on 2024-04-02
Wilson Co.
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Recorded by: Mark Basinger on 2023-08-14
Wilson Co.
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Recorded by: Mark Basinger on 2023-08-14
Wilson Co.
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Recorded by: R. Newman on 2023-08-11
Carteret Co.
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Recorded by: Darryl Willis on 2023-08-01
Cabarrus Co.
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Recorded by: Darryl Willis on 2023-08-01
Cabarrus Co.
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Recorded by: R. Newman on 2023-05-10
Carteret Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-07-29
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2022-07-05
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Richard Teper on 2022-05-07
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Richard Teper on 2022-05-07
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: R. Newman on 2022-04-16
Carteret Co.
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Recorded by: Stephen Dunn on 2021-07-25
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Simpson Eason on 2021-07-20
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Simpson Eason on 2021-07-20
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2021-05-18
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2021-05-18
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-05-17
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-05-17
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2021-04-27
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2021-04-27
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Owen McConnell on 2021-04-20
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: R. Newman on 2021-04-12
Carteret Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-08-30
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-08-30
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Erich Hofmann on 2020-08-10
New Hanover Co.
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