Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFGeometridae Members: 99 NC Records

Heliomata cycladata Grote & Robinson, 1866 - Common Spring Moth



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Taxonomy
Superfamily: Geometroidea Family: GeometridaeSubfamily: EnnominaeTribe: MacariiniP3 Number: 910686.00 MONA Number: 6261.00
Comments: A small genus of 4 species of which three are North American and two occur in North Carolina. The remaining species is in central Europe. Ferguson (2008) moved this genus from the Abraxini to the Macariini.
Species Status: Specimens from North Carolina have been examined and nest nicely with those from elsewhere in the Northeast and Canada. H. cycladata is distinct and well separated from H. infulata.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984); Beadle and Leckie (2012)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONATechnical Description, Adults: Forbes (1948); Ferguson (2008)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Forbes (1948); Wagner et al. (2001); Wagner (2005); Ferguson (2008)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: A small, black-and-white Geometrid that is likely to be confused with only a small number of other species. The overall pattern of dark and pale markings is most similar to Heliomata infulata, but the pale bands on both wings are usually white or only slightly tinged with yellow in cycladata but usually completely pale yellow in infulata. The pale patch on the hindwing is also much broader in cycladata, usually wider than the dark bands on either side, whereas it is narrower in infulata, usually occupying a third or less of the wing (Forbes, 1948; Ferguson, 2008). In some individuals of infulata but not cycladata, a faint yellow scaling may be present in the dark basal patch, often a thin line, usually on at least one wing (JBS, pers. obs). Cycladata, on the other hand, usually has a pale dorsal band at the base of the abdomen and a partially orange collar, both of which are missing in infulata; the outlines of the pale patches tend to be more irregular, whereas they are typically clean-cut in infulata (Ferguson, 2008). Other black-and-white Geometrids, such as Rheumaptera hastata and Trichodezia albovittata, lack the white patch on the hindwing and have only a single narrow white band on the forewing, whereas Heliomata has two distinct pale patches separated by a narrow black band. Desmia funeralis is similar in size and general markings to H. cycladata but has much narrower, more pointed wings. Sexes are similar but females tend to be larger and darker than males. Generally, a good quality photo should be sufficient to identify this species, but the foodplants in the vicinity will also help distinguish it, as cycladata feeds on Robinia pseudoacacia whereas H. infulata feeds on the R. hispida complex (including R. nana).
Adult Structural Features: Generically distinct but the two species have similar genitalia. The males differ by the outer, curved portion of the valva which is longer and more upcurved in H. cycladata than in H. infulata. The larger row of cornuti in the aedeagus appears to be made up of larger spines than in H. influlata. Males possess a fovea and a comb on the third abdominal sternum; the hind tibiae are also enlarged in the males (Ferguson, 2008).
Structural photos
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from photos showing hindwings, abdomen, or other specialized views [e.g., frons, palps, antennae, undersides].
Immatures and Development: Larvae are green with longitudinal yellow stripes and yellow intersegmental bands on the abdomen; patches of purple either border the stripes or are located between the intersegmental bands (see Wagner et al., 2001 and Ferguson, 2008, for illustrations and details). The locust leafminer (Odontota dorsalis) is a serious pest of black locust and usually defoliates most of the trees in the mountains. Its potential effect on Heliomata cycladata is unknown but might be significant. One can imagine that if any eggs of Heliomata cycladata overwinter the caterpillars would have abundant foliage to feed on before the beetle larvae begin in June and thus the life history could change somewhat.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Occurs in both the Mountains and Piedmont but is absent from 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
Flight Comments: There is a single brood in May-June. The pupa overwinters (Wagner el al, 2001).
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: The majority of our records come from upland sites, probably mostly near pastures, old homesites, and other semi-disturbed habitats where Black Locust has become established. Black Locust was originally limited to the mountains and has been transplanted all over the state. The dense wood is prized as fenceposts and as fuel.
Larval Host Plants: Possibly monophagous, feeding primarily or exclusively on Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) (Wagner et al., 2001; Ferguson, 2008). May also feed on other species of Robinia or possibly on Honeylocust, but those need to be confirmed (Ferguson, 2008). We have no evidence that Gleditsia (Honey Locust) is used in North Carolina.
Observation Methods: Adults come readily to light traps and can be seen flying during the day. The bright pattern may indicate the adult is distasteful but no evidence has been presented to that effect and the foodplant is not known to be toxic.
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for Locust Groves and Thickets
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G5 [S4S5]
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 relatively widespread and common in the Mountains but sparse in the Piedmont, where it has probably only recently become established due to the spread of Black Locust. Appears to be secure within the state.

 Photo Gallery for Heliomata cycladata - Common Spring Moth

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

Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-06-14
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Owen McConnell on 2021-05-26
Graham Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-05-26
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Heather Burditt on 2020-06-19
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-05-31
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-05-15
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-04-17
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Stephen Hall on 2019-07-01
Ashe Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-05-28
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2019-05-26
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-05-20
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2018-05-26
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2018-05-24
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2018-05-24
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2018-05-10
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2018-05-09
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Stephen Hall, Ed Corey, and Brian Bockhahn on 2017-05-17
Surry Co.
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Recorded by: K. Bischof on 2017-05-02
McDowell Co.
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Recorded by: K. Bischof on 2017-05-02
McDowell Co.
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Recorded by: Ken Kneidel on 2017-05-02
Yancey Co.
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Recorded by: Steve Hall and Bo Sullivan on 2016-06-14
Ashe Co.
Comment: This specimen has a yellow tinge to the pale areas on the wings, which are also somewhat narrow. The identification as cycladata was based primarily on the orange collar. Other individuals seen at the same time were more definitely cycladata.
Recorded by: Steve Hall and Bo Sullivan on 2016-06-14
Ashe Co.
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Recorded by: K. Bischof on 2016-05-07
McDowell Co.
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Recorded by: B. Bockhahn, P. Scharf, K. Kittelberger on 2015-06-18
Avery Co.
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Recorded by: B. Bockhahn, P. Scharf, K. Kittelberger on 2015-06-18
Avery Co.
Comment: Aberrant form, with narrow median band but with yellowish collar, pale band at base of abdomen, uneven boundary to median band
Recorded by: Steve Hall and Ed Corey on 2015-05-16
Alleghany Co.
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Recorded by: J. Merrill Lynch on 2015-05-11
Watauga Co.
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Recorded by: T. Nergart on 2015-05-07
Transylvania Co.
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Recorded by: K. Bischof on 2015-04-22
McDowell Co.
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Recorded by: J. A. Anderson on 2015-04-20
Surry Co.
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