Moths of North Carolina
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196 NC Records

Macaria bisignata Walker, 1866 - Red-headed Inchworm Moth


Taxonomy
Superfamily: Geometroidea Family: GeometridaeSubfamily: EnnominaeTribe: MacariiniP3 Number: 910756.00 MONA Number: 6342.00 MONA Synonym: Semiothisa bisignata
Comments: This is one of 73 species in this genus that occur in North America, with 17 species occurring in North Carolina. In the latest checklist of North American Lepidoptera (Pohl and Nanz, 2023), North American members of the genus Speranza and Epelis were treated as junior synonyms of Macaria.
Species Status: Bisignatata is included in the conifer-feeding bicolorata species group by Ferguson (2008), of which bicolorata, transitaria, distribuaria, minorata, and aequiferaria are the other members that occur in North Carolina
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984; as Semiothisa bisignata); Beadle and Leckie (2012)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIF, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: Ferguson (2008)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Ferguson (2008)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: A medium sized Geometrid with the angled hindwings and sub-falcate forewings typical of this genus; as in other members of the bicolorata species group, bisignata has a reddish to ochre head that contrasts with the paler gray thorax and abdomen. As in the closely related M. bicolorata, the lines are weakly developed, usually represented only by dark spots on the costa. A large, sub-rectangular, chestnut bar located at the costal end of the subterminal line is usually prominent and there is also often a dark spot present along the subterminal lower down where many members of this genus have a large blotch. Whereas bicolorata is usually clearly two-toned, with a paler medial and basal areas and a darker subterminal and terminal area, bisignata is usually more concolorous, with a dull white ground color that is variously shaded with pale grayish brown (Ferguson, 2008). The undersides of the wings in bisignata are pale like the uppersides rather than contrasting in color and tone as in bicolorata. The dark spot along the subterminal line is usually relatively well-developed in bisignata, but is usually missing or reduced in size in bicolorata.
Forewing Length: 13–15 mm, males; 14–16 mm, females (Ferguson, 2008)
Adult Structural Features: Male antennae are laminate and resemble those of the female, although thicker (Ferguon, 2008). This distinguishes them from males of bicolorata, which have more serrate antennae. As in other members of this species group, the hind tibiae are swollen in the males and they possess a pecten on the third abdominal sternite (Ferguson, 2008). Foveae are absent, as they are in all members of his group except aequiferaria.
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 both minorata and bisignata feed on White Pine, larvae need to be reared to adulthood to determine their species. However, they both can be distinguished from the larvae of another White Pine feeding species, Macaria pinistrobata, which has thin dark stripes located beneath the pale subspiracular line (Wagner et al., 2001).
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable only through rearing to adulthood.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Most of our records -- including all those that are based on specimens -- come from the Mountains or from Hanging Rock State Park, a range of monadnocks with montane-like habitats. Records from the eastern Piedmont and Coastal Plain need to be confirmed.
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: Adults fly throughout the growing season, from late spring to early fall.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Records from the Mountains come from both mesic forests, such as floodplains and coves, and from drier slopes and ridges.
Larval Host Plants: Stenophagous, feeding primarily on Eastern White Pine (Ferguson, 2008; Maier et al., 2011). - View
Observation Methods: Adults come well to 15 watt UV lights and we have at least a few records from building lighs. We have no records from bait, however, or from flowers.
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for White Pine Forests
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G5 [S5]
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 at least somewhat geographically restricted in North Carolina, it feeds on a common host plant and occurs in a wide range of habitats and over a wide elevational range in the Mountains. It appears to be secure within the state.

 Photo Gallery for Macaria bisignata - Red-headed Inchworm Moth

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

Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2024-06-13
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2024-06-13
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2024-06-10
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2024-06-10
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2024-05-28
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2024-05-28
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2024-05-27
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: David George, Jeff Niznik on 2024-05-25
Chatham Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2024-05-24
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: David George, Rich Teper on 2024-05-13
Chatham Co.
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Recorded by: David George, Rich Teper on 2024-05-13
Chatham Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2024-05-11
Madison Co.
Comment: FWL = 16 mm.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2024-05-11
Madison Co.
Comment: FWL = 16 mm.
Recorded by: Emily Stanley on 2024-05-04
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2023-08-22
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2023-08-22
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2023-08-20
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2023-08-20
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2023-08-17
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2023-08-17
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2023-08-15
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2023-08-15
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2023-08-13
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2023-08-13
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2023-08-06
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2023-08-06
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2023-08-05
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Owen McConnell on 2023-07-31
Graham Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2023-07-31
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: David George, Stephen Dunn, Jeff Niznik on 2023-07-31
Swain Co.
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