Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFGeometridae Members: 200 NC Records

Macaria distribuaria (Hübner, 1825) - Southern Chocolate Angle

Superfamily: Geometroidea Family: GeometridaeSubfamily: EnnominaeTribe: MacariiniP3 Number: 910762.00 MONA Number: 6336.00 MONA Synonym: Semiothisa distribuaria
Comments: One of 25 species in this genus -- commonly known as Angles (as in angular, referring to the wing shape) -- that occur in North America; 17 have been reported from North Carolina
Species Status: Distribuaria is included in the conifer-feeding bicolorata species group by Ferguson (2008), of which bisignata, bicolorata, transitaria, minorata, and aeqiferaria are the other members that occur in North Carolina.
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984; as Semiothisa distribuaria)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONATechnical Description, Adults: Ferguson (2008)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Wagner et al. (2001)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: Macaria distribuaria is a medium-sized Geometrid but the largest of our species of Macaria. The pattern lacks the large spot blotch and darkened notch in the subapical area typical of other species of Macaria, but the lines and shadings are otherwise more pronounced. The antemedian and postmedian are both fine, black, and waved -- bends in these lines approach one another at the postcubital fold, creating a constriction in the medial space (Ferguson, 2008). A more diffuse median line may also be present. The basal and medial areas are usually shaded with pale gray; both areas may be striated or flecked with gray-brown. Beyond the postmedian, a reddish brown to chocolate shading fills the subterminal area, followed by another pale gray shade in the terminal area. Apex is usually paler than the rest of the terminal area, which is often shaded with darker brown. As in other members of this species group, the head is red or ocher, contrasting with the paler gray thorax and abdomen.
Adult Structural Features: Unlike aequiferaria but similar to all other members of the bicolorata group, males lack a fovea but possess swollen hind tibiae and a pecten on the third abdominal sternite. The antennae of the males are intermediate between bipectinate and laminate (Ferguson, 2008).
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: With the exception of aequiferaria, larvae of the bicolorata species group are all similar to one another: glossy green or reddish with cream-colored subdorsal and subspiracular stripes that run the length of the body (see Wagner et al., 2001). Since distribuaria, transitaria, and bicolorata all probably feed on Longleaf Pine, larvae need to be reared to adulthood to determine their species.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable only through rearing to adulthood.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Nearly all of our records come from the Sandhills and the southern part of the Outer Coastal Plain. One record also exists from a site in the eastern Piedmont where a disjunct stand of Longleaf Pine occurs.
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: Adults fly essentially continuously from late spring to fall, with three apparent peaks in abundance.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: With the possible exception of the historic record from Wake County, all of our records come from habitats dominated by Longleaf Pine. These range from wet to mesic savannas and flatwoods to dry to xeric sandhills. Our one Piedmont record comes from a relict stand of Longleaf Pine growing on a slope covered with pitcher plants and other Coastal Plain species associated with seepage. None of our records come from areas that have other species of pines but not Longleaf, including peatlands dominated by Pond Pines and floodplains and other habitats dominated by Loblolly or Short-leaf Pine. We cannot rule out at least some use of Slash Pine, however, but that species usually occurs in plantations with naturally occurring Longleaf either mixed in or located in the near vicinity.
Larval Host Plants: Stenophagous, feeding primarily on Longleaf Pine in our area but also using Slash Pine -- an introduced species in North Carolina -- farther to the south (Ferguson, 2008).
Observation Methods: Comes well to 15 watt blacklights but we do not have any records from either bait or flowers.
See also Habitat Account for General Longleaf Woodlands
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G4 [S4]
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: As a specialist on Longleaf Pine ecosystems, the habitat of this species has been greatly reduced and fragmented since colonial times. However, it has been less affected by fire suppression than species associated with the herb or shrub layers of these communities and is still found wherever stands of Longleaf exist. In the Uwharries, it was the only Longleaf Pine associate found in a survey conducted by the Natural Heritage Program in 2010-11.

 Photo Gallery for Macaria distribuaria - Southern Chocolate Angle

Photos: 13

Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Bo Sullivan on 2021-08-10
Moore Co.
Recorded by: David L. Heavner on 2021-05-30
Chatham Co.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka, Bo Sullivan and Steve Hall on 2021-05-10
Moore Co.
Recorded by: Dean Furbish on 2021-05-02
Wake Co.
Recorded by: Steve Taylor on 2020-07-20
Beaufort Co.
Recorded by: Kyle Kittelberger, Brian Bockhahn on 2020-05-13
Moore Co.
Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2020-03-30
Onslow Co.
Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2020-03-21
Onslow Co.
Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2019-08-03
Onslow Co.
Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2019-06-06
Onslow Co.
Recorded by: Ed Corey on 2019-04-27
Moore Co.
Recorded by: Ed Corey on 2013-06-04
Bladen Co.
Recorded by: SPH & DFS on 1992-09-02
Brunswick Co.
Comment: Male; wingspan = 3.2 cm, forewing length = 1.6 cm; det D.F. Schweitzer