Moths of North Carolina
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53 NC Records

Speranza varadaria (Walker, 1860) - Southern Angle


Taxonomy
Superfamily: Geometroidea Family: GeometridaeSubfamily: EnnominaeTribe: MacariiniP3 Number: 910700.00 MONA Number: 6314.00 MONA Synonym: Itame varadaria
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 Baccharis-feeding Varadaria Species Group by Ferguson (2008), which also includes S. marcescaria and S. imitata, neither of which occurs in our region.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984; as Itame varadaria)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIF, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: Ferguson (2008)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Ferguson (2008)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: A moderately small, brown Geometrid, with slightly pointed forewings. The ground color of both sets of wings is yellowish- to grayish-brown, dusted with darker brown (Ferguson, 2008). The antemedian, median, and postmedian are all dark brown, with the postmedian the strongest. The antemedian is convex or bent; the median is straight; and the postmedian is somewhat outwardly convex. The outer side of the postmedian is usually shaded with dark brown or reddish brown that may extend into the subterminal area (Ferguson, 2008). Discal dots are present on all wings, although often faint, which helps distinguish this species from the similar sized and patterned Eumacaria madopata and Digrammias.
Adult Structural Features: Genitalia of both sexes are very similar to those of the other members of the Varadaria 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 green with a wide white lateral stripe (see Ferguson, 2008, for an illustration and detailed description).
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Restricted to the Outer 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: We have records for adults from April to October, with no sign of any separate flight periods.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Occurs on barrier islands, where it is probably naturally associated with marshes and other wetland edges. Also occurs further inland in the Coastal Plain in other shrubby habitats, including Long Leaf Pine and Peatland communities. However, in those areas, it may be associated with the growth of Baccharis associated with disturbed roadsides rather than with the natural communities themselves.
Larval Host Plants: Monophagous, reported to feed solely on Groundsel Tree (Baccharis halimifolia) (Ferguson, 2008). - View
Observation Methods: Comes reasonably well to blacklight traps, although it is usually collected in small numbers in any one sample. None of our records come from bait or flowers.
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for Groundsel-tree Thickets
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G4? [S3S4]
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: Although this species is monophagous and probably was originally a habitat specialist, its host plant has spread far beyond its original range and in some areas is becoming an aggressive invader (Weakley, 2015). So far, however, the moth has not been recorded in North Carolina more than a few miles from the coast.

 Photo Gallery for Speranza varadaria - Southern Angle

Photos: 7

Recorded by: R. Newman on 2023-06-20
Carteret Co.
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Recorded by: R. Newman on 2023-06-03
Carteret Co.
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Recorded by: Morgan Freese on 2022-06-08
New Hanover Co.
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Recorded by: R. Newman on 2021-10-01
Carteret Co.
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Recorded by: R. Newman on 2020-10-21
Carteret Co.
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Recorded by: Newman, Randy on 2007-05-19
Carteret Co.
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Recorded by: Newman, Randy on 2007-05-19
Carteret Co.
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