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

Crambus saltuellus Zeller, 1863 - Pasture Grass-veneer Moth

Superfamily: Pyraloidea Family: CrambidaeSubfamily: CrambinaeTribe: CrambiniP3 Number: 800951.00 MONA Number: 5363.00
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.
Species Status: This species was regarded as a synonym of agitatellus by Fernald (1896) and Forbes (1923). However, it is considered a valid species by Scholtens and Solis (2015).
Field Guide Descriptions: Beadle and Leckie (2012)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIF, BOLD                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The head and thorax of this species are brownish-yellow, and the palps when viewed from the side are mostly light fuscous with white beneath (Fernald, 1896). The legs are light fuscous above, and the ground color of the forewing varies from brownish-yellow or brownish-orange to brown. The most conspicuous mark is a broad, silvery white, longitudinal stripe that gradually widens as it extends from the wing base to near the middle of the wing, then tapers to a sharp point at around two-thirds the wing length. A small tooth often projects from the dorsal edge at the point where the stripe begins to taper, and the margins are lined with yellowish- to brownish-orange scales. The stripe is divided by a relatively well-developed brownish-yellow to brown line that extends from near the distal tip of the stripe before fading out near the wing base. A V-shaped brownish-yellow to brown subterminal line is present at around four-fifths that is double, or nearly so, with the distal line incomplete or broken on the dorsal half. The space between the lines is filled with silvery scales. In between the subterminal line and the end of the silver band there is a separate large white patch. The patch is bordered above and below with two silvery lines with black edges that alternate with light brownish-yellow lines. The subapical area has a small, triangular, brownish-yellow costal patch and a similar white patch that adjoins the black terminal line that covers the apical third of the outer margin. The remainder of the outer margin has a series of four or five black dots or dashes. The fringe is silvery lead gray, while the hindwing is gray to grayish-white with a paler fringe.

Crambus saltuellus is very similar to C. agitatellus, but has a more prominent brown or brownish-yellow line running through the silver stripe, and has a larger number of dark and silver lines extending out from the upper portion of the silver stripe. In some individuals, dark streaks run close to the inner margin from the base of the wing to the subterminal line (BugGuide, 2018). In addition, the double subterminal line is filled with a line of silvery white scales. In C. agitatellus the silvery line tends to be narrower and relatively obscure, and has a mixture of both silvery and blackish scales, particularly on the costal half.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: Local populations are univoltine and the larvae have been reported to feed on grasses based on the affiliation of adults with grassy habitats, but detailed studies of the larval life history are lacking.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Crambus saltuellus is found in the eastern U.S. and adjoining areas of southern Canada (Manitoba; Ontario; Quebec; New Brunswick; Nova Scotia; Prince Edward Island). In the U.S. the range extends from Maine to South Carolina and northern Alabama, and westward to northern Louisiana, central Oklahoma, eastern Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota and northeastern Nebraska. This species is uncommon or absent from most of the southeastern Coastal Plain. As of 2023, we have records from all three physiographic regions, with Coastal Plain records restricted to the Sandhills.
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 fly from April through August in different areas of the range, with a seasonal peak typically from May through July in most states. As of 2023, our records range from early-May through late-July, with one late-season record from late October.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Our records include grassy habitats such as pastures and meadows in the mountains, and xeric Long-leaf Pine forests in the Sandhills. We also have records from bogs and bottomland forests.
Larval Host Plants: The larvae have been reported to feed on grasses (Beadle and Leckie, 2012), but there is remarkably little hard evidence that this is the case. The adults do prefer pastures, meadows, and other habitats that support grasses, particularly cool-season species. This, and the fact that other members of the genus are know to use grasses, is the presumed basis for assuming that the larvae also feed on grasses. - View
Observation Methods: The adults are attracted to lights.
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR {S3-S4]
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 fairly common locally in the appropriate habitats, but more information is needed on its host plants, habitat requirements, and distribution and abundance before we can fully assess its conservation status within North Carolina.

 Photo Gallery for Crambus saltuellus - Pasture Grass-veneer Moth

Photos: 14

Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2023-06-20
Madison Co.
Recorded by: John Petranka on 2023-06-06
Alleghany Co.
Recorded by: Stephen Dunn on 2023-06-05
Orange Co.
Recorded by: David George, L. M. Carlson, Brian Bockhahn on 2022-06-07
Moore Co.
Recorded by: Stefanie Hedrick on 2022-06-06
Mecklenburg Co.
Recorded by: Jeff Niznik on 2022-05-17
Chatham Co.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka, Bo Sullivan and Steve Hall on 2021-06-08
Scotland Co.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-07-05
Madison Co.
Recorded by: B. Bockhahn, P. Scharf, K. Kittelberger on 2015-06-18
Avery Co.
Recorded by: B. Bockhahn, K. Kittelberger, P. Scharf on 2015-06-18
Watauga Co.
Recorded by: B. Bockhahn, K. Kittelberger, P. Scharf on 2015-06-17
Caldwell Co.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2014-06-08
Madison Co.
Recorded by: Doug Blatny / Jackie Nelson on 2011-10-22
Ashe Co.
Recorded by: Paul Scharf on 2011-06-29
Warren Co.