Moths of North Carolina
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17 NC Records

Palpita illibalis (Hübner, 1818) - Inkblot Palpita Moth


Taxonomy
Superfamily: Pyraloidea Family: CrambidaeSubfamily: PyraustinaeTribe: SpilomeliniP3 Number: 801322.00 MONA Number: 5223.00
Comments: One of twelve species in this genus recorded in North America north of Mexico (Scholtens and Solis, 2015). Munroe (1952) placed magniferalis in his Illibalis Species Group, which in North Carolina also includes arsaltealis, magniferalis, freemanalis, and aenescentalis.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIFTechnical Description, Adults: Munroe (1952)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: A small white and brown mottled Pyraustine. The ground color is typically white, although some individuals have a brownish shading. The orbicular and reniform are dark and solid, with the wings also speckled with dark brown; speckling along the costa can be almost solid but is otherwise light and concentrated in the distal half (Munroe, 1952). Hindwings are also lightly speckled and possess a distinct dico-cellular spot. Legs are white, with dorsal and distal fuscous bands on the fore tibiae. Palps are fuscous above and pale below. Schotens (2017) notes that "there is plenty of possibility for confusion in these species. There are general trends in each, but a great deal of variation."
Forewing Length: 12-13 mm (Munroe, 1952)
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from photos showing hindwings, abdomen, or other specialized views [e.g., frons, palps, antennae, undersides].
Immatures and Development: Larvae in Madison County are often common on Fringetree (Chionanthus virginicus) where they can cause minor issues with defoliation (J. Petranka, pers. obs.). The larva feeds on the leaf surface beneath a silken web, and frass pellets litter the webbed leaf. The leaves tend to curl with age. Larvae held in captivity evacuated the leaves at maturity and pupated on artificial substrates beneath a thin webbing of silk.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
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:
Larval Host Plants: Larvae have been found on Fringetree (Chionanthus virginicus) in North Carolina.
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for General Ash Forests
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status: [W3]
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR S1S2
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: This species appears to be associated with Fringetree in North Carolina. Since that species is considered to be at high risk due the depredations of the Emerald Ash Borer, it is likely to be highly endangered.

 Photo Gallery for Palpita illibalis - Inkblot Palpita Moth

Photos: 20

Recorded by: tom ward on 2022-07-25
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-05-03
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-08-04
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-07-25
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-06-06
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-04-22
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2019-09-05
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Darryl Willis on 2019-08-15
Cabarrus Co.
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Recorded by: David L. Heavner on 2019-07-30
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-07-12
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-05-31
Madison Co.
Comment: Caterpillar feeding beneath webbing on a Fringetree leaf.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-05-31
Madison Co.
Comment: Caterpillar on Fringetree.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-05-31
Madison Co.
Comment:
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-05-31
Madison Co.
Comment: Adult that eclosed on 2019-06-28 from a caterpillar that was collected on 2019-05-31 (see companion photographs of caterpillar and pupa).
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-05-31
Madison Co.
Comment: Pupa beneath webbing.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-05-19
Madison Co.
Comment: Determined by J.B. Sullivan based on dissection.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2018-07-12
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2018-05-17
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2018-05-08
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2018-04-27
Guilford Co.
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