Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFCrambidae Members: 56 NC Records

Pantographa limata (Grote & Robinson, 1867) - Basswood Leafroller Moth



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Taxonomy
Superfamily: Pyraloidea Family: CrambidaeSubfamily: PyraustinaeTribe: SpilomeliniP3 Number: 801184.00 MONA Number: 5241.00
Comments: Pantographa is a small genus of mostly neotropical moths, with only two described species in North America.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984); Beadle and Leckie (2012).Online Photographs: MPG; BugGuide; BAMONATechnical Description, Adults: Covell (1984); Beadle and Leckie (2012)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The adults are easily recognizable due to their distinctive coloration and wing patterning. The ground color of the forewing is straw-colored along the costal region and much of the basal area, and metallic purplish brown on the remainder of the forewing. The lighter ground color is overlain with a series of crisp lines and small spots or blotches with purplish brown margins, including the orbicular, claviform, and reniform spots. The entire wing has a faint light or metallic sheen. The hindwing is heavy dusted with purplish brown coloration near the basal region. This fades into lighter dusting apically. A scalloped double-line occurs near the subterminal region and a small white spot is present between the middle and the base of the hindwing.
Wingspan: 3-3.7 cm (Covell, 1984).
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: The larvae have transparent greenish to bluish green bodies, and straw-colored to blackish head and prothoracic plates. Individuals typically feed within rolled leaf shelters on American Basswood (Tilia americana). The young larva initially makes a cut with its mandibles a few centimeters above the leaf base. As the larva progressively cuts from the edge of the leaf towards the midvein, it periodically stops to bind and roll the leaf segment. A similar cut is often made on the opposing side, and the two rolled halves are bound together with silk bands that resemble stitching. The larva remains inside the shelter where it skeletonizes the leaf tissue. Rose and Linquist (1997) reported that the larvae pupate in the rolled leaves, which eventually drop to the ground with the autumn leaf-fall.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Pantographa limata ranges across most of the eastern US and adjoining areas in extreme southern Canada. Populations extend as far south as Florida and Texas, and westward to eastern Texas, eastern Oklahoma, Missouri, and Iowa. This species is mostly absent from much of the Atlantic Coastal Plain from southern Virginia southward to southern Georgia. In North Carolina, P. limata is locally common in the mountains and western foothills of the Piedmont. It appears to be absent from much of the eastern Piedmont where basswood is less common, and has not been documented in the Coastal Plain.
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: Local populations are univoltine, with adults in flight from late May through late August or early September.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Local populations appear to be strongly dependent on American Basswood for successful reproduction. This species is generally found in areas with circumneutral soils with high nutrient content. Habitats include rich cove forests and mesic slopes in the mountains, rich forested sites in the Piedmont, and shell middens and/or marl-influenced sites in the Coastal Plain.
Larval Host Plants: American Basswood (Tilia americana) appears to be the primary host plant. Covell (1984) reported that P. limata uses oaks and Rock Elm (Ulmus thomasii). These taxa appear to be minor hosts, and Rock Elm does not occur in North Carolina. Tilia americana has had a complex taxonomic history, and was previously split into multiple species (T. heterophylla; T. caroliniana; T. floridana) and varieties. More recently, these forms have been treated as a single, geographically variable species (T. americana; Weakley, 2018).
Observation Methods: The adults are attracted to lights, and the rolled leaves on American Basswood are easy to spot in the field.
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for Rich Dry-Mesic Hardwood Forests
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR S4S5
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: Pantographa limata is locally common in the mountains and foothills where stands of basswood occur. Populations in the Piedmont are more spottily distributed. Deforestation, along with the replacement of hardwood forests with managed pine forests, has likely adversely affected local populations of this species.

 Photo Gallery for Pantographa limata - Basswood Leafroller Moth

Photos: 28

Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-09-02
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-09-02
Madison Co.
Comment: A larva that was removed from a leaf roll.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-09-02
Madison Co.
Comment: A larva that was removed from a leaf roll.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-07-21
Graham Co.
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Recorded by: Owen McConnell on 2021-07-16
Graham Co.
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Recorded by: K. Bischof on 2021-07-11
Transylvania Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2021-07-08
Swain Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-07-06
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-06-13
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: tom ward on 2021-06-11
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2020-08-13
Madison Co.
Comment: Larvae cut leaves just above the leaf base in a characteristic pattern when constructing the rolled feeding shelters.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2020-08-13
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2020-08-13
Madison Co.
Comment: A larva that was removed from a feeding shelter.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-08-08
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-07-19
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Rob Van Epps on 2020-07-18
Mecklenburg Co.
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Recorded by: David L. Heavner on 2019-07-06
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Patrick and Megan Blythe on 2019-07-02
Macon Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-06-22
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-06-05
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2018-07-06
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Owen and Pat McConnell on 2018-07-04
Graham Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2018-07-03
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2018-07-03
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Owen and Pat McConnell on 2018-06-26
Graham Co.
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Recorded by: Ken Kneidel on 2018-06-17
Yancey Co.
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Recorded by: K. Bischof on 2016-06-28
Yancey Co.
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Recorded by: Doug Blatny/Jackie Nelson on 2012-07-11
Ashe Co.
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