Moths of North Carolina
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146 NC Records

Herpetogramma pertextalis (Lederer, 1863) - Bold-feathered Grass Moth


Taxonomy
Superfamily: Pyraloidea Family: CrambidaeSubfamily: PyraustinaeTribe: SpilomeliniP3 Number: 801197.00 MONA Number: 5275.00
Comments: Over 20 species of Herpetogramma have been described from North America that are based mostly on external morphology. The most recent treatment consolidates these into only nine species (Solis, 2010) and all nine occur in North Carolina.
Species Status: "An indication of size can be valuable" (Scholtens, 2017)
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Beadle and Leckie (2012)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIF, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: Solis (2010)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The following description is based in part on that of Forbes (1923) and Handfield and Handfield (2021). The head, thorax, and abdomen are typically dull yellowish tan, with the abdomen having a narrow white crossband on the posterior margin of each segment. The ground color of the wings varies from dull white to light yellowish-tan and is overlain with a complex pattern of medium to dark-brown marks that are clean-cut. The costa of the forewing has a medium brownish shading that extends from the base to the postmedial line. The fringe varies from whitish to light brown with darker spotting near the base, and the terminal line is dark brown. A whitish patch is located between both the round orbicular and double-lined reniform spot, and between the reniform spot and postmedial line. A short, longitudinal dash is also usually evident between the orbicular and reniform, but displaced inward towards the middle of the wing.

The antemedial line is weakly sinuate and often rather obscure, while the postmedial is well defined. It projects inward from the costa at around three-fourths the wing length where it meets an outwardly bulged section with three teeth. From there it projects basally towards the orbicular spot for a short distance, then sharply angles away after approaching the reniform spot and runs nearly perpendicular to the inner margin. A prominent, toothed, dark-brown subterminal line follows the postmedial line and separates a cream-colored zone between the postmedial and subterminal lines from a slightly duller, brownish-cream zone between the subterminal line and the outer margin. The hindwing is concolorous with the forewing and has similar marks, including the fringe and prominent dark brown terminal line. The females tend to be more boldly marked than the males, with the ground color more yellowish white than creamy white.

Herpetogramma pertextalis is similar to H. thestealis in terms of overall patterning, but the latter is darker overall, with a sharp contrast between the dark brown subterminal shade on the forewing and the whitish area between it and the postmedial line. The subterminal shade also noticeably widens as it approaches the costa, with the tooth next to the costa often touching or nearly touching the postmedial line. Herpetogramma thestealis also has a whitish ground color, versus a more light yellowish-tan ground in H. pertextalis, and often has a violet or bluish iridescent sheen that is lacking in H. pertextalis. Worn specimens of H. pertextalis are light colored but generally retain the overall patterning.
Wingspan: 21.5–23.0 mm for males and 23–24 mm for females (Handfield and Handfield, 2021).
Adult Structural Features: Handfield and Handfield (2021) have descriptions and illustrations of the male and female genitalia.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from photos showing hindwings, abdomen, or other specialized views [e.g., frons, palps, antennae, undersides].
Immatures and Development: The larvae feed on the foliage of several host species, including at least one fern and many broadleaf species such as Clethra alnifolia. They feed within conspicuous tubular-shaped leaf ties (Handfield and Handfield, 2021; BugGuide). The shelters are messy with large amounts of blackish frass and pupation occurs within the shelters. The older instars have dull yellowish-green bodies and rows of pinacula that are light brown and lightly pigmented. The head is amber-colored and the thoracic plate has two large blackish spots.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Herpetogramma pertextalis is found in eastern North America, including extreme southern Canada (Ontario; Quebec). In the U.S. the range extends from Maine southward to South Carolina, northern Georgia and the Florida Panhandle, and as far west as eastern Oklahoma, eastern Kansas, eastern Nebraska, and Minnesota. As of 2023, all of our records are from the Blue Ridge and Piedmont.
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)

Click on graph to enlarge
Flight Comments: The adults have been observed from April through October in different areas of the range. As of 2023, our records extend from early-May through late-October. Populations in North Carolina appear to produce two or three generations each year.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Local populations can be found in a variety of habitats, including mesic deciduous forests, forest edges and openings, and wooded residential neighborhoods.
Larval Host Plants: The larvae are polyphagous and feed on both woody and herbaceous plants (Schaffner, 1959; Prentice, 1966; Godfrey et al., 1987; Robinson et al., 2010; Solis, 2010; Beadle and Leckie, 2012; Handfield and Handfield, 2021; BugGuide). The reported hosts include a Bracken Fern (Pteridium sp.; BugGuide) and broadleaf species that include Red Maple (Acer rubrum), Sugar Maple (A. saccharum), Eastern Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis), burdock (Arctium), Coastal Sweet-pepperbush (Clethra alnifolia), dogwoods (Cornus), fleabanes (Erigeron), Joe-Pye weeds (Eutrochium), Wild Strawberry (Fragaria virginiana), hollies (Ilex), ground cherries (Physalis), plantains (Plantago), buttercups (Ranunculus), brambles (Rubus), Canadian Black-snakeroot (Sanicula canadensis), goldenrods (Solidago), Meadow-rues (Thalictrum), American Basswood (Tilia americana), Red Clover (Trifolium pratense), American Elm (Ulmus americana), nettles (Urtica) and violets (Viola). - View
Observation Methods: The adults are attracted to lights and are occasionally found nectaring on wildflowers. More information is needed on the larval life history in North Carolina.
Wikipedia
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: This species is common in North Carolina and uses a wide diversity of host plants; it appears to be secure within the state.

 Photo Gallery for Herpetogramma pertextalis - Bold-feathered Grass Moth

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

Recorded by: David George, Stephen Dunn, Jeff Niznik, Larry Chen on 2023-10-28
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: David George, Jeff Niznik on 2023-09-20
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: David George, Jeff Niznik on 2023-09-04
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: David George on 2023-08-25
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2023-08-23
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: David George, Stephen Dunn, Jeff Niznik on 2023-08-18
Caswell Co.
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Recorded by: David George, Stephen Dunn, Jeff Niznik on 2023-08-10
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Owen McConnell on 2023-07-31
Graham Co.
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Recorded by: Darryl Willis on 2023-07-30
Cabarrus Co.
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Recorded by: David George, Stephen Dunn, Jeff Niznik, Rich Teper, Becky Watkins on 2023-07-30
Swain Co.
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Recorded by: Owen McConnell on 2023-07-19
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: David George, Jeff Niznik on 2023-07-19
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: David George, John Petranka on 2023-07-07
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: David George, Stephen Dunn, Jeff Niznik on 2023-07-06
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2023-06-24
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2023-06-24
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2023-06-01
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: John Petranka on 2023-05-25
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Owen McConnell on 2022-09-03
Graham Co.
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Recorded by: David George on 2022-08-15
Avery Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2022-08-09
Watauga Co.
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Recorded by: David George, Lior Carlson, Becky Watkins, Richard Teper, Stephen Dunn on 2022-07-23
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-07-21
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-07-20
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: David George, L. M. Carlson, Stephen Dunn on 2022-07-15
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: David George, L. M. Carlson on 2022-07-03
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: David George, L. M. Carlson on 2022-06-26
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: David George, L. M. Carlson on 2022-06-20
Caswell Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-05-19
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: David George, L. M. Carlson on 2022-05-17
Orange Co.
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