Moths of North Carolina
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725 NC Records

Hypagyrtis unipunctata (Haworth, 1809) - One-spotted Variant Moth



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Taxonomy
Superfamily: Geometroidea Family: GeometridaeSubfamily: EnnominaeTribe: BistoniniP3 Number: 911075.00 MONA Number: 6654.00
Comments: This New World genus contains 7 species, 1 neotropical and 6 from North America, three of which occur in North Carolina (piniata may also be possibly present in the mountains -- Wagner et al., 2001). This genus shows a large range of variation, however, and its taxonomy still appears to be unsettled. Forbes (1948) stated that "the species or forms of this genus are completely confused and show no satisfactory differences in genitalia -- they may be merely races and strains, but breeding from known foods will be needed to make sure."
Species Status: Numerous specimens from North Carolina have been examined and there is great variability throughout the range of the species in the Eastern US. Another putative species H. piniata, which seems to replace unipunctata in New England, barcodes with unipunctata in most barcode clusters. There may well be multiple species but given the similarity of the genitalia, it is going to be difficult to isolate and characterize additional species. Whether H. piniata is a good species and whether it ranges into North Carolina remain open questions. Much work is needed before clarity is attained.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984); Beadle and Leckie (2012)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, BAMONATechnical Description, Adults: Forbes (1948)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Forbes (1948); Wagner et al. (2001); Wagner (2005)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: This is a highly variable species. Forbes (1948) describes six different species that are now all included within unipunctata (Hodges et al., 1983). He describes most of these forms as having the ground color of the wings consisting of buff, yellow-brown, or luteous. In the case of triplipunctaria, the ground color is white or gray but dusted with black, producing a salt-and-pepper effect similar to that found in Hypgyrtis piniata, but differing in that its subterminal spot is triple rather than single. None show the even fuscous coloration of Hypagyrtis esther (or of brendae, which was not described until 1973), and the subterminal area is described as yellowish-brown rather than reddish as in esther. Sexes are dimorphic, with the females being larger, longer-winged, and having a more scalloped outer margin on the hindwing. Females can be extremely difficult to place for there is a form that looks very much like the females of H. esther.
Adult Structural Features: There do not seem to be distinct characters in the male; in the female the shape of the signum may be diagnostic but additional samples are needed.
Structural photos
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: Larvae vary in color and have a subdued pattern; most have a diffuse pale patch on A5 (see Wagner, 2005 for details).
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Occurs statewide, including the Barrier Islands and High Mountains.
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: Found throughout the growing season, there appear to be three broods in the Coastal Plain and Piedmont and two in the mountains. Size varies by season and by altitude (Sullivan and Miller, 2007). First brood adults are dramatically different from subsequent broods in size and pattern which can be confusing.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: We have records for this species from virtually all natural habitats in North Carolina, including maritime and estuarine evergreen forests; pocosins and other peatlands; longleaf pine savannas, flatwoods, and sandhills; brownwater and Piedmont river bottomlands and permanently flooded cypress swamps; mesic Piedmont and Mountain hardwood forests; dry glades and ridges in the Piedmont and Mountains; and cove forests and northern hardwoods in the Mountains. We do not, however, have any records from spruce-fir forests at the highest elevations in the Mountains.
Larval Host Plants: Polyphagous, feeding on a wide range of woody shrubs and trees. Broadleaf species are the main ones reported, but Forbes also mentions one larva taken from pine that was attributed to one of the forms of unipunctata. It is probably significant to record what they won’t eat!
Observation Methods: Adults have short, non-functional mouthparts (Forbes, 1948); consequently, they do not come to bait or show up at flowers. They appear to come fairly well to blacklights with a maximum of 63 captured in a single trap.
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for General Forests and Shrublands
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: Unless individual forms of this species are separated into more hostplant- or habitat-specific clades, unipunctata appears to be an extremely widespread habitat generalist in North Carolina and of no conservation concern.

 Photo Gallery for Hypagyrtis unipunctata - One-spotted Variant Moth

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

Recorded by: John Petranka on 2022-09-08
Alleghany Co.
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Recorded by: Ken Kneidel on 2022-09-08
Mecklenburg Co.
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Recorded by: John Petranka on 2022-09-04
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: John Petranka on 2022-09-01
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Chuck Smith on 2022-08-18
Davidson Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-08-13
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: John Petranka on 2022-08-09
Watauga Co.
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Recorded by: David George, Lior Carlson, Brian Bockhahn on 2022-08-09
Rockingham Co.
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Recorded by: David George, L. M. Carlson on 2022-08-03
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: David George on 2022-07-31
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: David George, L. M. Carlson on 2022-07-18
Chowan Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2022-07-15
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: David George, L. M. Carlson, Stephen Dunn on 2022-07-15
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2022-07-02
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2022-06-26
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: David George, L. M. Carlson on 2022-06-21
Caswell Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2022-06-07
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2022-05-27
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2022-05-09
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: David George, L. M. Carlson on 2022-05-04
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Stephen Hall on 2022-05-03
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish and Joy Wiggins on 2022-04-28
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: David George on 2022-04-27
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Dean Furbish and Joy Wiggins on 2022-04-27
Wake Co.
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Recorded by: David George on 2022-04-24
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Simpson Eason on 2022-04-23
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: Lior Carlson on 2021-09-24
Johnston Co.
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Recorded by: Jim Petranka on 2021-09-17
Madison Co.
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Recorded by: Simpson Eason on 2021-09-11
Durham Co.
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Recorded by: David George, L. M. Carlson on 2021-09-10
Orange Co.
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