Moths of North Carolina
Scientific Name:
Common Name:
Family (Alpha):
« »
View PDFCrambidae Members:
Crambus Members:
14 NC Records

Crambus pascuella (Linnaeus, 1798) - No Common Name

Superfamily: Pyraloidea Family: CrambidaeSubfamily: CrambinaeTribe: CrambiniP3 Number: 800927.00 MONA Number: 5339.00
Comments: The genus Crambus includes around 155 species that are distributed globally. Some of the species are significant pests that can cause damage to agricultural crops, lawns and rangelands. This is one of 41 species in this genus that occur in North America north of Mexico (Pohl and Nanz, 2023), and one of fifteen species that occur in North Carolina.
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIF, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: Fernald (1896); Forbes (1923)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Fernald (1896)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: In this species the head is white above, and the thorax is white above with medium-brown on the sides. When viewed from the side, the palps are rather distinctive in being white above and below, with a prominent medium-brown stripe that extends from the eye to the tip. The forewing has a medium-brown ground color, with a broad, silvery white, longitudinal stripe that extends from the wing base to just before the subterminal line. The stripe is tapered on both ends (acutely so on the distal end), and is thinly margined with a dark brown line. There is a separate silvery white patch between the distal tip of the longitudinal stripe and the apex of the subterminal line that is surrounded on both sides by a series of very thin silvery and orangish-brown lines that are bordered by blackish scales. The costa has a silvery white patch at around three-fourths the wing length that adjoins the orangish-brown, outwardly angulated, subterminal line that is margined with black scales along the outer margin. Beyond this are alternating oblique white and orangish-brown stripes or patches along the costa that terminate with a bold, black apical line. The dorsal half of the subterminal region is ashy gray and has three or four short dashes near the outer margin. The hindwing is light tan with a slightly paler fringe. Crambus agitatellus and C. saltuellus are similar, but both have a thin yellowish-brown line that divides the silvery longitudinal stripe, a mostly brown palp, and heavier black scaling on the apical third of the wing.
Wingspan: 21-24 mm (Fernald, 1896)
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: The larvae appear to specialize on grasses and perhaps sedges, but details of the larval life history are lacking. Observers in England have found the larvae under a mass of frass that was held by silk, in silken tubes near the bases of grasses, and with some larvae in hollow stems. Observations in North America appear to be very limited.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Crambus pascuella has northern and cool-climate affinities. It occurs from central California northward to British Columbia and Alaska, and from there eastward across a broad swath of southern and central Canada to Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. It occurs in the eastern U.S. from Maine southwestward through the Appalachian region to western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee. Populations also occur in northeastern North Dakota, northern Minnesota, Michigan, Colorado and Montana. This species also occurs in Europe and Asia Minor, but the Old World populations are in a different BIN from North American forms and may constitute a separate species. As of 2023, all of our records are from the Blue Ridge, and mostly from higher elevation sites.
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 May through October in different areas of the range, with peak seasonal activity typically in June and July. As of 2023, our records range from early-June to early-August.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Most of our records are from high-elevation sites, including balds, open woods, and road corridors with grasses and herbaceous plants. These records seem consistent with the distribution of Tufted Bulrush, which is similarly restricted to high elevations, where it is associated with cliffs, rock faces, and seepages (LeGrand et al, accessed 2024-01).
Larval Host Plants: The larvae appear to specialize on grasses and perhaps sedges. Robinson et al. (2010) reported a bluegrass (Poa sp.) to be a host. In Europe, the known hosts include Sheep Fescue (Festuca ovina) and Tufted Bulrush (Trichophorum caespitosum). - View
Observation Methods: The adults are attracted to lights.
See also Habitat Account for High Elevation Rock Outcrops
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR [S2-S3]
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: This species is found at higher elevations in the Blue Ridge where it reaches the southern limit of its range in eastern North America. Additional information is needed on its distribution and host plants before we can accurately assess its conservation status within the state,

 Photo Gallery for Crambus pascuella - No common name

Photos: 4

Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2021-06-23
Ashe Co.
Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2021-06-23
Ashe Co.
Recorded by: John Petranka on 2021-06-10
Watauga Co.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-07-09
Mitchell Co.