Moths of North Carolina
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Speranza Members:
28 NC Records

Speranza subcessaria (Walker, 1861) - Barred Angle

Superfamily: Geometroidea Family: GeometridaeSubfamily: EnnominaeTribe: MacariiniP3 Number: 910720.00 MONA Number: 6303.00 MONA Synonym: Itame subcessaria
Comments: One of fifty species in this genus that occur in North America (Ferguson, 2008), three of which have been recorded in North Carolina (Brimley, 1938, also included S. coortaria, but his specimen in the NCSU collection belongs to S. pustularia instead). Placed in the Ribes-feeding Bitactata Species Group by Ferguson (2008), which includes five other species in addition to subcessaria, none of which occur in our state.
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984; as Itame subcessaria); Beadle and Leckie (2012)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIF, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: Forbes (1948); Ferguson (2008)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Wagner et al. (2001); Ferguson (2008)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: A medium-sized Geometrid whose ground color is a uniform light gray on the forewings and contrastingly whitish- to yellowish-brown on the hindwing (Ferguson, 2008). The costa is marked with four black to dark brown spots located where the upper ends of the transverse lines normally occur but in this case with no other trace of the lines. The second of these spots is elongated, however, forming a black bar that extends to the lower end of the cell; the lower end of this bar is rounded, squared off or angled at the end (Forbes, 1948; Ferguson, 2008).
Adult Structural Features: Genitalia of both sexes are very similar to those of the other members of the Bitactata Species Group but differ from the other species of Speranza that are known to occur in North Carolina (see Ferguson, 2008). Males have fairly broadly bipectinate antennae and narrow hind tibiae. Females also have bipectinate antennae but with the branches much shorter than in the males (Ferguson, 2008, for Speranza in general).
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: Larvae are dimorphic, either brown or green and with very different patterns (Wagner et al., 2001). The brown phase is shiny and strongly mottled with patches of white and black. The green phase has several pale dorsal stripes and a broader subspiracular stripe that runs the length of the body, interrupted by the shiny black spiracles (Wagner et al., 2001; Ferguson, 2008).
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Restricted to the Mountains and occurs primarily at high elevations
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: Our records possibly indicate only a single, summer flight in North Carolina
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Most of our records come from the High Mountains, from habitats that include Spruce-Fir Forests (e.g., Clingman's Dome, Grandfather Mountain), Northern Hardwoods (e.g., Bluff Mountain, Three-top Mountain) and High Elevation Red-oak Forests (Mt. Jefferson State Park). At lower elevations, cove forest appear to be the primary habitat.
Larval Host Plants: Stenophagous, feeding solely on species of Ribes (Forbes, 1948; Wagner et al., 2001; Ferguson, 2008). In North Carolina, Ribes cynosbati, Ribes glandulosum, Ribes rotundifolium are the native species in this genus and are mostly found at high elevations (Weakley, 2015). - View
Observation Methods: All of our records were obtained through blacklight trapping, with typically only a few species collected at any one time.
See also Habitat Account for Gooseberry Thickets
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status: SR
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G4 S2S3
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: We currently have just 19 records for this species in North Carolina, from eleven different sites. It occurs mainly in the High Mountains, where its host plants are most common, although a few have been found at lower elevations, almost all from Rich Cove habitats. Although its host plants grow in both forested and open habitats, all appear to be associated with cool, moist conditions and are likely to be at high risk due to climate change.

 Photo Gallery for Speranza subcessaria - Barred Angle

Photos: 3

Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2023-07-27
Buncombe Co.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2020-06-26
Buncombe Co.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka, Becky Elkin, Steve Hall and Bo Sullivan on 2019-07-30
Yancey Co.